ICDSM press release

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Sep 14 07:16:32 MDT 2003

ICDSM-US U.S. National Section of the International Committee to Defend
Slobodan Milosevic

Press Release #1 September 13, 2003

Telephone: 212-726-1260 Email: icdsm_us at yahoo.com

For Immediate release:


Today some two dozen writers, academics, attorneys and peace and human
rights activists announce the formation of a new organization to fight for
an immediate end to the disgraceful show-trial of Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

The new committee shall be known as the U.S. National Section of the
International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic, and it shall work in
full cooperation with the leadership of the ICDSM in Belgrade and Europe as
its official representative in the United States. The Chair of the
Committee is Dr. Michael Parenti of Berkeley, California a leading
international scholar and the author of To Kill A Nation: The Attack on

The U.S. Section of the ICDSM rejects the legitimacy of this trial and that
of the ICTY as well. But at the same time we cannot stand by without
protesting the gross violations of fundamental legal, democratic and human
rights visited upon Mr. Milosevic by this court. We view this trial as an
act of political warfare against the people of Serbia and against the basic
democratic rights of the whole of humanity that cannot be allowed to succeed.

The U.S. Section of the ICDSM charges the ICTY and the American government
with falsifying war crimes charges against President Milosevic solely for
the purpose of manipulating public opinion against the people of Serbia and
justifying NATO's barbaric 78-day campaign of terror against Yugoslavia in
1999, as well as to deflect attention from the real crimes against the
people of Yugoslavia committed by the US and its NATO allies over the
course of the last thirteen years. These include but are not limited to the
break up of Yugoslavia and the imposition of neo-colonial regimes in each
of the former republics. The ICTY represents a continuation of this policy
of aggression and occupation and a dangerous precedent for all nations who
dare to oppose U.S. or Western foreign policy.

As its first act the US Section of the ICDSM is issuing this urgent public
protest against the ICTY's most recent violations of the norms of
international law and human rights.

In recent weeks the ICTY has flagrantly violated some internationally
accepted legal norms by failing to provide adequate medical attention for
President Milosevic, by denying visitation rights to President Milosevic's
closest advisors, and, most recently, by denying Mr. Milosevic's request
for a two year break in the trial for adequate preparation for his defense.
In all three of these cases, the actions of the tribunal are designed to
prevent President Milosevic from conducting his defense.

Above all the ICTY has deliberately undermined the health and physical
capacity of President Milosevic by refusing to grant adequate medical
assistance and an adjournment.

The past two years of imprisonment have severely damaged his health and
threatened his very life. In addition, the tribunal's persecution of Mr.
Milosevic's family and his forced isolation from them is an outrage that
must end.

By not granting Mr. Milosevic an adjournment and adequate medical care the
tribunal has exposed its own brutality while violating fundamental norms of
international law such as the presumption of innocence and due process.
Article 9 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
states: "It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall
be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear
for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should
occasion arise, for execution of the judgment." And in regard to due
process, Article 9 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights states: "No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such
grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law."

The recent decisions of the ICTY also disregard the principle of "equality
of arms," a fundamental norm of international law that is intended to
create credible conditions for the defense. According to Article 14 (3) of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):

"A defendant is entitled (b) to have adequate time and facilities for the
preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own
choosing; (d) to be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person
or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does
not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance
assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and
without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient
means to pay for it; (e) to examine, or have examined, the witnesses
against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on
his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him."

The ICTY at The Hague makes a mockery of such standard international legal
principles in its total disregard of President Milosevic's ill health and
request for an adjournment.

Basic decency and justice demands that the U.S. Section of the ICDSM call
upon those orchestrating the tribunal's process against President Milosevic
to adjourn the process for a period of at least two years and end the ban
on visitation rights. But above all the U.S. section seeks the immediate
release of President Milosevic from his unlawful imprisonment and an end to
the sinister proceedings organized by the ICTY show-trial at The Hague. The
ICDSM calls upon the citizens of all nations concerned with the violation
of human rights to join in this protest. The U.S. National Section of the
ICDSM shall, in the near future, publish a pamphlet on the illegitimate and
sinister nature of The Hague tribunal, hold press conferences, and create a
website to educate and engage the American public about the outrages of
this court funded by U.S. taxpayers' dollars.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

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