Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Trial of Radovan Karadžić

Having moved physically closer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as it is officially called, the trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić is an unique opportunity to report on revised history and its fall-out as it condenses before our eyes.

Minute proceedings of the trial can be followed through the official site of the ICTY; mainstream reporting is widely available in the traditional media. In close cooperation with our Balkans correspondent, analyst Ioannis Michaletos of the Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS) in Athens, Politeia will be focusing on the subsurface idiosyncrasies of the case and what may be missed in the Western media due to lack of objectivity towards the Serbian side in the conflict.

Yesterday afternoon at 16.00 hours Karadžić' initial appearance took place before Judge Alphons Orie, who is reputed to make short shrift of political rantings issuing from the more politically minded in the dock. This is a pity, because the West is greatly in need of an education with regard to the proximity of Left and Right collectivist ideologies, one of the principal theses of this blog. Yugoslavia seamlessly morphed from a Communist collective to a Serbian Nationalist hive.

The fact that the Bench yesterday was not aware that Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is working on a new Indictment (here's the Prosecution's Statement and here's the old indictment), not only has the accused breaking out in sweat; it also made the impression of a Court already partly dissolved in disarray, as indeed was the case when the former Bosnian Serb leader was arrested last week in Belgrado.

Florence Hartmann, in another life journalist for French Leftist daily Le Monde and spokeswoman at the ICTY - and more recently author of the book "Peace and Punishment" - in an interview in The European Courier published on 11th October last year states, she believes this to be the actual reason why Karadžić' was arrested at this particular time. The trial breathes new life in a near comatose tranzie institution.

Biased press and officials involved in the proceedings are exceedingly worried about the consequences of Karadžić' insistence not to appoint counsel, but - like former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosović, to lead his own defence. It will add to cost and time the tribunal must be kept operational. Judge Orie on Thursday stressed that leading one's own defence isn't an absolute right. The middle road might be the appointment of an amicus curiae. This document recounts the problems Milosović had in that regard. An additional problem is that unlike Milosović, Karadžić isn't a lawyer by profession. The accused on his part is contemplating a hunger strike if his rights are trampled on by the Court.

What else stood out? Karadžić promise of spilling the beans during his trial by the ICTY was already made good by his early accusation that former Clinton era diplomat and Dayton Peace Accords broker, Richard Holbrooke may be trying to liquidate him as a result of a secret deal gone awry, an offer of immunity for early retirement, involving also France, the U.K. and Russia. In the meantime Karadžić has penned down his accusation in a document addressed to the Pre-Trial Chamber headed Irregularities linked to my arrival before the tribunal.

On Friday Holbrooke countered by denouncing the claim as a brazen lie ("who would believe an indicted war criminal?") as he (Holbrooke) didn't even have the authority to make such deals. But considering the third way'ers clout in transnational business Karadžić claim of a secret deal is not as far-fetched as Holbrooke would wish it to be.

What's more, Dutch Nova TV yesterday evening interviewing Holbrooke, mentioned that the secret deal was confirmed from unsuspicious quarters, namely Karadžić' Bosnian Muslim counterpart in the Dayton negotiations, Muhamed Sacirbey, resulting in a audibly disappointed Holbrooke.

Moreover, Florence Hartmann recounts in her book that in March 2000, Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte asked Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, whether the US had a secret agreement with Karadžić. Clark in turn accused former French President Chirac of having cut a pact with Karadžić and Mladić to win the release of two French pilots held by the Serbs in 1995 (see Bosnia News).

Hartmann further clarifies, she wrote that Karadzic’s family says that he signed such an agreement, and that Holbrooke and the US have denied it. There is no any hard evidence, but mountains of circumstantial indicators, on which more in later posts.

In the same interview Hartmann states that Joschka Fisher, the German minister of Foreign Affairs in the former German Government told Del Ponte that according to German secret services, international High Representative in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown met with Karadžić at the end of 2003 in Bosnia!

Hartmann fumingly lists a number of occasions over the last fifteen years when Karadžić and Mladić might have been arrested, but as by a miracle, were not. Something must have been holding them back. Read it all in The European Courier interview >>>

The trial is adjourned to 29th August.

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Updates throughout: Serbianna

- Filed on Articles in "The Proceedings at ICTY" -


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