by Michel Collon
It`s as if Washington itself were to try Milosevic!
The "Tribunal" is only interested in putting Milosevic on trial – not Sharon, nor Pinochet nor the Murderer Generals from Turkey: Is it impartial? Financed by the United States government and by American millionaires, it refuses to investigate the war-crimes committed by NATO and by the Albanian terrorists: Is it independent? Its modus-operandi throws overboard numerous principles of law: Is it legal? We have a portrait of a very bizarre "Tribunal"..
Should Milosevic go on trial in the Hague? Whatever your opinion of the former President of Yugoslavia (and on the people really responsible for the wars in the Balkans) should he not have the same right as any other man to be tried by a fair and neutral tribunal that respects the law?
According to article 16 of the statute book of this famous War Crime Tribunal, the Prosecutor is to act independently and not be subject to orders from any government. According to article 32, the expenses of the tribunal must be covered by the United Nations Budget. These two
principles are constantly being thrown out of the window. The President of the Tribunal, Gabriella Kirk McDonald, herself, told the United States Supreme Court "We benefited from the strong support of concerned governments and dedicated individuals such as Secretary Albright. As the permanent representative to the United Nations, she had worked with unceasing resolve to establish the Tribunal. Indeed, we often refer to her as the "mother of the Tribunal".
What a charming mother! She declared on national television that sending five hundred thousand Iraqi children to their death was "justified"!
When the War Crimes Tribunal`s Chief Prosecutor, Louise Arbour indicted Milosevic, guess whom she informed first. Bill Clinton - two days before informing the rest of the world. Like her successor, Carla Del Ponte, she often appeared in public with US officials. In 1996 she met the Secretary-General of NATO and its European Commander in Chief "to discuss the logistics of co-operation," before signing a "memorandum of mutual understanding".
So who is paying the Piper?...
Well, between 1994 and 1995, the War Crimes Tribunal received from the US government $700,000 cash and $2.3 million worth of computer equipment. From the Rockefeller foundation it received $50,000 and from the US Multi-Millionaire speculator, George Soros, $150,000. Soros was financing, at the same time, the main Albanian separatist newspaper in Kosovo. Other donors: The giant Time Warner media empire (this might explain some of the media silence on the dark sides of the War Crimes Tribunal). And then there is the Oh, so official "Institute for Peace" set up by President Reagan. A large number of the War Crimes Tribunal lawyers come from the Coalition for International Justice, founded and financed by .. Yes, you`ve guessed - George Soros. In May 2000 its lady President McDonald thanked the US government for "generously providing $500,000." "The moral imperative to end the violence in the region is shared by all, including the corporate sector, she said. I am pleased, therefore, that a major corporation has recently donated computer equipment worth three million dollars".
With sponsors such as these, it is easy to understand why the War Crimes Tribunal only pursues the enemies of the United States. That is why the Croat and Muslim Nationalist leaders remain unpunished for their crimes of ethnic cleansing during the wars of 1991 to 1995. Likewise the leaders of the KLA and of NATO who were responsible for an illegal war and for deliberately destroying the civil infrastructure of Yugoslavia and for using unlawful weapons (cluster bombs and depleted uranium bombs). Here are the real reasons for pursuing Milosevic:
1) An attempt to lay guilt on the Serbian people as a whole and thereby hide the fact that the USA and Germany provoked and encouraged the wars in Yugoslavia.
2) The wish to intimidate a Head of State who resisted globalisation.
3) The need to whitewash NATO`s criminal war, whose pretences and media-lies have fallen through.
10 principles of law violated by the International War Crimes Tribunal
The Tribunal, in fact, betrays several totally fundamental principles of law: the separation of power (executive, legislative and judicial), equality between prosecution and defence, presumption of innocence till proved guilty..
1) The International War Crimes Tribunal was founded in 1993 by the United Nations Security Council (15 members dominated by the great powers and the US veto) on the insistance of Senator Albright. The normal channel for creating such a tribunal, as the United Nations Secretary General pointed out at the time, would have been "via an International Treaty established and approved by the Member States permitting them full exercise of their sovereignty.** However, Washington imposed an arbitrary interpretation of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, that allows the Security Council to take "special measures" to restore International peace. Is the Creation of a Tribunal a "special measure"? Hardly. The International War Crimes Tribunal itself is not legal.
2) Without precedent in the history of law, the Tribunal was empowered with the task of setting up its own laws and regulations – regulations that it has in fact modified frequently. Through a totally ludicrous procedure for making changes, the President can make them on his own and have them ratified by fax by the other judges! (rule 6).
3) Here`s another creative innovation. The laws of the International War Crimes Tribunal can be retrospective - edited and tailored to fit the facts after the event.
4) Worse still: the Prosecutor can also change these rules (the defence can`t). And there is no "investigating judge" enquiring into charge and counter-charge. The Prosecutor conducts the enquiry any way he pleases.
5) The Court can refuse a defence lawyer or simply not listen to him if it finds him "aggressive" (rule 46).
6) The Prosecutor can with the approval of the judges, refuse to allow council for the defence to consult certain books, documents, photos and other material proofs (rule 66).
7) Moreover, the source of testimony and information can stay secret.
This means that the CIA agents can fill their dossiers with illegally gathered accusations (through phone tapping, corruption, theft) without having to submit to any kind of verification or cross-examination.
8) Representatives of other States (participants in the conflict, but allied to the United States) can also submit confidential information without having to undergo any questioning whatsoever.
9) An indictment can remain secret "in the interests of justice" (rule 53), so the accused cannot defend himself in the normal way.
10) A suspect, i.e. someone who has not even been indicted, can be detained for ninety days before being charged - ample time to extract a forced confession. Then rule 92 stipulates than confessions will be deemed trustworthy unless the accused can prove the contrary. Whereas, everywhere else in the world, the accused is presumed innocent until proved guilty.
No national tribunal, in the United States or anywhere else in the world would operate in such a blatantly unlawful or arbitrary manner. But when it comes to condemning the enemies of the United States of America principles of law no longer count. According to the masters of the
world, right belongs to the strongest and the richest.
* Speech at the Council for International Relations, New York, 12th May
** Report No X S/25704, section 18.