Contextualizing Hate: The Hague Tribunal, the Clinton

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Sun Nov 12 12:47:31 MST 2000

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Contextualizing Hate:  The Hague Tribunal, the Clinton
Administration and the Serbs

 by Raymond K. Kent, Professor Emeritus of History, University of
 California at Berkeley

 [Note from : this article is long and
 and some of the most important insights are to be found in the middle
 and end. We urge you to read the entire piece; you'll come out with
 much understanding. The Professor definitely knows his stuff.]

 Some sixteen years ago, Anthropology Professor George Vid
 Tomashevsich (University of Buffalo) pleaded for non- interference
 in Yugoslavia by foreign powers and issued this warning in a letter to
 the New York Times (1 April, 1980):

      "...splitting up the admittedly imperfect but viable
      Yugoslav Federation would be virtually impossible
      without drastic and brutal political and economic surgery,
      which at best could not fully satisfy any of the separated
      parts. Every conceivable divorce between Serbia and
      Croatia would of necessity involve not only a painful
      partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina but also the
      explosive question of the ethnic identity of the Yugoslav
      Moslems and nightmarish ex- changes of hundreds of
      thousands of uprooted Serbs and Croats from the
      disputed territories... "

   Biased from the Start

 In 1993, as the Clinton Administration decided on an undeclared war
 against the Bosnian Serbs, the United Nations Security Council set
 up an International Tribunal to deal with war crimes in the former
 Yugoslavia since 1991. It was housed at the Hague, not far from the
 venerable World Court, extant since 1907. The UN Charter made no
 provision for such a Tribunal (1). Two Muslim states, Pakistan and
 Malaysia, were among the earliest financial backers. None of the
 initial 25 hand-picked jurists came from a single country that could be

 held to be favorable to the Serbs on either political or religious
 grounds or both (2). The Tribunal's first investigative Commission
 was headed by an ardent Sunni Muslim scholar from Egypt. His
 report on war crimes concerned exclusively a section of eastern
 Bosnia with a once-predominantly Muslim population. It was here,
 after the international recognition of Bosnia as a state in April 1992,

 that a collection of Serb irregulars, many fresh out of criminal jails,

 crossed over and spread terror widely noted in the global media. In
 its aftermath there was no shortage of war criminals.

Murder of Slovonian Serbs...

 Although the investigative time-frame included 1991, the
 Commission remained silent about another, much larger, event that
 took place between August 1991 and early 1992. In what is known as
 Western Slavonia, when both Croat irregulars and Croatia's newly
 formed army went on a terror campaign in which 189 Serb villages
 were destroyed, several thousand Serb civilians were killed, 70
 Orthodox churches were systematically destroyed, Serb priests and
 even a Bishop were arrested, while some 40,000 refugees fled in
 disarray into Bosnia and Serbia. A substantial Serb population in the
 major Slavonian city of Vukovar disappeared without having fled,
 leaving traces of torture in the old Austrian catacombs under the city
 along with evidence of murder and rape.

         not noticed

 The Western media, whose demonization of the Serbs was already
 well underway, chose to overlook these events whose crucial
 significance was thus completely missed by the outside world. It was
 the massive Croat purge of western Slavonia's Serbs that ushered in
 and provoked the "modern" post-World War II "ethnic cleansing"
 which was pinned exclusively on the Serbs in 1992, some months
 after the whole of western Slavonia was "freed" and left to the
 Croats alone. What gives the western Slavonian event (3) an even
 more acute significance is its impact on the Serbs in general who
 immediately saw the replay of what was done to the Serbs in Croatia
 and Bosnia between 1941-1945 (4).

    Serbians have the same reason
       'never to forget' as the Jews

 Involving the loss of the lives of several hundred thousand Serb men,
 women and children in the two regions, that was by far the most
 bestial example of war crimes in all of Europe under the German
 Nazi hegemony.

 Some Serbs were carved up alive or roasted on the spit. In several
 hundred cases eyes were gouged out with spoons. Hundreds were
 burned alive in their tightly shut Orthodox churches. Small children
 were smashed against walls, decapitations and rapes were
 commonplace, thousands were buried in mass and individual graves
 as well as caves, tens of thousands were put in 22concentration
 camps in Croatia and Bosnia, thousands more were forcibly
 converted into another branch of Christianity, countless thousands
 fled in terror out of immediate reach. (5) To be sure, these gruesome
 crimes were mainly the work of Croat Nazis, none of whose
 higher-ranking members were ever tried for war crimes.

    WWII slaughter: it shocked the
                  German Nazis

 Even officers of the German regular army stationed in the regions
 felt uncomfortable with the ongoing mayhem. It was hence not
 difficult to whip the Serb irregulars of April 1992 into a frenzy as
 their commander "Arkan" (Zeljko Raznatovic) swore that "never
 again "would the Serbs submit to being ruled by others or permit
 mass exterminations and mass expulsions of fellow-Serbs "wherever
 they may be, "with reprisals "sure to follow." (6) Arkan then moved
 into Slavonia and Serb-held Krajina to inflict misery on the Croat
 peasants who had nothing to do with the earlier ethnic cleansing of
 the Serbs from western Slavonia.He thus stepped right into the full
 view of UN observers and the global media, making it impossible to
 save the Serbs as a nation from hatreds knowing no bounds and
 continuing to flourish outside any historic context (7).

 Some are more equal than others

 By the start of 1996, the Tribunal's expenditures topped $40,000,000,
 mostly for salaries. It had indicted 46 Serbs, 8 Croats and one
 Muslim for war crimes. The Serbs were on the Tribunal's list for
 crimes against both the Croats and Muslims, the Croats allegedly
 committed crimes against the Bosnian Muslims while the sole
 Muslim was charged with crimes against the Bosnian Croats (8).

   Belated indictments - for public

 In the third week of March 1996, there was an unusual addition to
 the list of war criminals sought. Three Bosnian Muslims and one
 Croat were indicted for crimes committed against the Serbs. Indeed,
 up until then, after more than two years of activity, the Tribunal had
 somehow failed to indict anyone for a wartime crime against a single
 Serb. This is despite the fact that, by the start of 1996, there were
 over 1,000,000 Serb refugees from western Slavonia, Krajina and
 Bosnia, that thousands of Serb civilians had been killed in these
 sections of "old" Yugoslavia, and that this was done by the Croat
 irregulars, Croatia's regular army, Bosnian Croats and Muslims
 alike. The ethnic cleansing of Krajina (August 1995),affecting some
 200,000 Serbs, mostly of peasant stock, dwarfed any other instance
 of such "cleansing" in the former Yugoslavia, during the five-year
 old civil war among three main co-belligerents. The Bosnian
 government's army destroyed scores of Orthodox Christian churches
 and used regularly the United Nations-designated "safe zones" from
 which to attack the near-by rural Serbs in raids that would never
 reach the Western European or American TV screens.


Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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