Dissolution du TPI


War Crimes Tribunal: Something ala George Orwell's 'Animal Farm'

By Carla Berg [7 May 2001]

Ms. Berg is a Graduate Student in Political Science and International Law

I am signing the "Free Milosevic!" petition because of the violations of international law by which the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (the ICTY or 'War Crimes Tribunal') was established.

The U.N. Charter provides the Security Council (SC) with authority to take measures in the event of acts of aggression, threats to the peace or breaches of the peace. A primary problem is that given the SC's structure, its members enjoy de facto immunity. With that in mind, Article 41 provides the SC with authority to negotiate, use arbitration, diplomatic methods, and similar such measures to address the aforementioned acts.

However, the SC does not have a legal basis to establish judicial bodies.

According to international law, the practical method of establishing any international judicial body must begin with a treaty. Once such a treaty has been ratified, the judicial body can be created by the U.N. General Assembly - not by the Security Council. The reasons for this are two cornerstones principles of international law: state sovereignty and state equality.

The ICTY has determined, in the case of Prosecutor v. Blaskic, that it, as an organ of the SC, is superior to states. This contradicts the language of its statute, which requires states to "co-operate." By taking the position that it, and incidentally its prosecutor, as an "organ" of the ICTY, is superior to any state, the ICTY is behaving in a manner consistent with the "rule of law" as defined by the Ottoman Sultan.

It is worth mentioning that Selim III declared a "new world order" in 1793, in an effort to subdue rebellious Suzerain States. The Suzerain states had their governments, but ultimately, authority was placed in the Sultan. Bad behavior got punishment, compliance got rewards. Sound familiar?

Another significant point is the fact that, normally, parties to a legal dispute have equal status before a neutral court. The structure of the ICTY defies this principle, since it places the Prosecutor above the accused by virtue of the Prosecutor's status as an organ of the court. Then there is the question of an absence of separation of powers, since the ICTY and Prosecutor have legislative abilities under the statute.

Another factor lies in the fact that unlike under the treaty establishing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty, the ICTY has been left to establish its own rules of court. As noted in Prosecutor v. Tadic, they make up the rules as they go along.

The ICTY, in its rules, also has denied the accused basic rights as provided under the declaration of human rights and the Covenant on Civil and political rights. Example: the presumption of innocence. The Milosevic indictment demonstrates that in fact the Tribunal indicts first, therefore presuming guilt, and investigates later. See Diana Johnstone's 'Humanitarian War: Making the Crime fit the punishment' for further elaboration on this point. (1)       

In short I will not sit back and watch as the law is turned into something ala Orwell's 'Animal Farm' in which the truth is 'propaganda' and racism is acceptable. 'Two legs bad, four legs good' is not all that different from saying 'Serbs bad, NATO good.'

If one examines, even casually, the ICTY committee's final report to the Prosecutor concerning NATO's 78 day act of aggression, and if at the same time we at least bother to look at the U.N. Charter, the customs of war, and other applicable laws, we find something that if it were not so tragic, it truly would be hilarious.

1. Grdilica Bridge-Train Bombing.

No need to investigate. After all the NATO pilot really was trying to bomb the bridge. But after hitting the civilian passenger train, all that nasty smoke got in the way, so they couldn't see what they were doing and bombed it again.

2. Djakovica.

No need to investigate. NATO has consistently maintained that it did not hit the Djakovica civilian convoy with intent to attack civilians. NATO's consistency involved three versions of this incident. 1. The Serbs did it. 2. We did it, but we thought from at 15,000 feet in the air, those tractors were military vehicles. 3. We did it, but Military was mixed in with those civilians . No need to investigate because it is real hard to see what you are attacking from 15,000 feet in the air.

3. RTS (Serbian TV station)

It is a military target because it served 'dual purpose,' says the ICTY. Besides NATO believed it was exclusively used to incite hatred and propaganda.

But when NATO leaders compared Milosevic with Hitler, that wasn't inciting hatred, it was a compliment, right? Conditioning people around the world to look upon Serbs as vicious animals is not inciting hatred, right?

By the ICTY's reasoning, any media outlet, during a war, will be justifiably attacked, in direct contradiction to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, because the media outlet is failing to convey the message that NATO is giving us some educational bombing.

The 'dual purpose' argument flies in the face of the fact that the U.S. Department of Defense's review of the bombing campaign solely and exclusively identifies propaganda as the justification for selecting it as a target. According to Amnesty International, NATO officials told them the same thing. In short NATO lied to its own Kangaroo court!

The question is who is going to be the next target state, and which leader is going to be introduced to justice, NATO style? Which national group is going to be the next to be subjected to an ongoing incitement of hatred by way of NATO, who after all is only bombing people back to the stone age for humanitarian reasons.


Carla Berg, Austria