FROM SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA Topic: BALKAN AFFAIRS
SCOTTSDALE, Mar 11, 2006 - Who says there's no death penalty at the Hague? (the International War Crimes Tribunal). This morning, the sixth prisoner of this kangaroo court was found dead in his cell - Slobodan Milosevic, the notorious former president of Serbia a.k.a. Yugoslavia a.k.a. Serbia and Montenegro. Only five days ago, Milan Babic, the former president of the Serbian Republic of Krajina (in today's Croatia) was also found dead in his cell. Suicide was alleged. The cause of death in Milosevic's case is not known at the present time.
A coincidence? Sure. What are the odds of six men, all Serbs (!), dying in prison? Actuaries would have a field day calculating them. Babic, for example, was only 50. Milosevic himself was only 64. Just last week, the Court refused his request for medical treatment in Russia where specialists were waiting to treat his heart ailment.
Alive, Milosevic, with his quick wit and sharp tongue representing himself in the court, was a threat to everyone in the New World Order established - from Bill Clinton on down. He simply knew too much and was ready to talk. In fact, he was awaiting the court's ruling on his request to subpoena Clinton as witness.
Borislav Milosevic, former Yugoslav ambassador to Russia who lives in Moscow, blamed the U.N. tribunal for causing his brother's death by refusing him medical treatment in Russia.
''All responsibility for this lies on the shoulders of the international tribunal. He asked for treatment several months ago, they knew this,'' he told The Associated Press. ''They drove him to this as they didn't want to let him out alive.''
Milosevic asked the court last December to let him go to Moscow for treatment. But the tribunal refused, despite assurances from the Russian authorities that the former Yugoslav leader would return to the Netherlands to finish his trial.
Milosevic has been on trial since February 2002, was defending himself against 66 counts of crimes, including genocide, in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. But the proceedings were repeatedly interrupted by Milosevic's poor health and chronic heart condition. Yet he had outlived the first judge who presided over his trial. British judge Richard May died in July 2004.
A thorn in the side of the U.S. government while in office, Milosevic's clever self-defense in court forced Washington to drop its pretense that his trial had anything to do with justice. In December 1993, the Hague kangaroo court granted the U.S. government's request to censor evidence that was about to be given by Gen. Wesley Clark, then a Democratic Party candidate, and a former NATO commander who carried out the attack on Serbia in 1999.
The normally simultaneous broadcast of the general's "live" testimony would “be delayed for a period of 48 hours to enable the US government to review the transcript, and make representations as to whether evidence given in open session should be redacted in order to protect the national interests of the US,” Clark's press release announced.
Milosevic's death came less than a week after the prosecution's star witness in his trial, former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic, was found dead in the same prison. Babic, who was serving a 13-year prison sentence, was said to have committed suicide. Milosevic was due to complete his defense at the war crimes tribunal this summer.
A figure of beguiling charm and cunning ruthlessness, Milosevic was a master tactician who turned his country's defeats into personal victories and held onto power for 13 years despite losing four wars that shattered his nation and impoverished his people. Milosevic led Serbia, the biggest Yugoslav republic, into four Balkan wars during the 1990s. The secret of his survival was his uncanny ability to exploit what less adroit figures would consider a fatal blow.
But in the end, his people abandoned him: first in October 2000, when he was unable to convince the majority of Yugoslavs that he had staved off electoral defeat by his successor, Vojislav Kostunica, and again on April 1, 2001, when he surrendered after a 26-hour standoff to face criminal charges stemming from his ruinous rule.
Milosevic was born Aug 20, 1941, in Pozarevac, an eastern Serbia town. His father was an Orthodox priest and sometime teacher of Russian. His mother was also a teacher. Both parents eventually committed suicide.
In high school, Milosevic met his future wife, Mirjana Markovic, the daughter of a wartime communist partisan hero. Markovic was also the niece of Davorjanka Paunovic, private secretary and mistress of Josip Broz Tito, the communist guerrilla leader who seized power in Yugoslavia at the end of World War II.
Milosevic is survived by his wife and two children. His son lives with his mother in self-imposed exile in Russia. His daughter lives in the Bosnian Serb Republic.
This writer has met Milosevic twice when he was still in power, both times at his office in Belgrade. The first meeting was in January 1990; the second in February 1992. Both lasted several hours.
In the first meeting, he told this writer things that implied he understood the power structure of the New World Order very well. And no wonder. He had been toasted in his earlier days in New York by none other than David Rockefeller and Larry Eagleburger, the former Secretary of State (see Milosevic on Trial - Balkans Affairs, Feb 13, 2002).
In the second meeting, that took place two months before the start of the Bosnian war, this writer warned Milosevic that he may be tried one day for war crimes. He shrugged off the suggestion (see "Milosevic: 'A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery'..." - TiM GW Bulletin, June 1998).
Was Milosevic guilty of starting the Balkans wars? Sure. But no more than was George H. Bush, for example, whose administration encouraged the Croats and the Bosnian Muslims to secede from Yugoslavia, thus provoking the civil wars that ensued.
Was Milosevic guilty of war crimes? Probably, though he was clever enough not to leave any paper trail. The Hague court was never about justice anyway. It was the victor's revenge and thus a mockery of justice. If the justice were to have been served, Milosevic should have been joined in the prisoner dock by the Croat and Muslims leader, not to mention their sponsors, Bush, Clinton and other senior officials of their administrations.
In the end, Milosevic should have been tried in his own country by his own people for the crimes against and the betrayals of his own people, and not just against the crimes against the Croats or the Muslims. The fact that he died before that means (man's) justice was not served (maybe God's was?).
Meanwhile, those most responsible for the Balkans carnage in the 1990s are still walking around scot-free.
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Also see... "Put the UN Justice on Trial" - TiM Bulletin (8/17/98); "Milosevic: 'A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery'..." - TiM Bulletin (June 1998); Milosevic on Trial - Balkans Affairs (Feb 13, 2002); "An ugly double standard in Kosovo conflict?" (WT column, 10/25/98)
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