Bosnia, Cold War/Europe
Bosnia - Karadzic’s Grace in Genocide Trial - Europe

Bosnia - Karadzic’s Grace in Genocide Trial

Posted by Aneela Shahzad on

The ethnic map of former Yugoslavia shows that Muslims were a dispersed minority in the country. Its balkanization was a matter of contest between its 6 major states and the Muslims had little say in it, yet in what context were they the targeted, and how according to UN estimates 100,000 Muslims and Croats were killed and 2.2 million were displaced, is a question to be answered.

The Yugoslavian wars, from 1990 to 2000, showed humanity how, in the middle of the most civilized Europe, home to thousands of offices of the United Nations and thousands more humanitarian orgs, the most barbaric dehumanization of innocent civilians, can be allowed to systematically take place, in a luxurious space of 10 years, in which the NATO forces and UN humanitarian workers constantly found themselves crippled and incapacitated.

During these 10 horrendous years numerous war crimes were committed by Serbian military and paramilitary forces. The crimes included massacres, ethnic cleansing, systematic rapes and genocide. The Srebrenica Massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys, the mass expulsion of another 25,000–30,000 Bosnian Muslim civilians, in and around the town of Srebrenica,  the 1992–1995 Siege of Sarajevo, starving and killing a whole population (official estimates: over 15,000 killed and over 60,000 wounded) .

The ethnic cleansing campaign targeted Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats and included unlawful confinement, murder, rape, sexual assault, torture, beating, robbery and inhumane treatment of civilians; the targeting of political leaders, intellectuals and professionals; the unlawful deportation and transfer of civilians; the unlawful shelling of civilians; the unlawful plunder of property; the destruction of homes and businesses; and the destruction of places of worship.

War rape occurred as a matter of official orders as part of ethnic cleansing against Muslims. The systematic “rape camps aimed to impregnate the Bosnian and Croatian women, women were kept in confinement until the late stages of their pregnancies. Reportedly,  more than 35,000 women and children were held in such Serb-run “rape camps” during the Foca massacre (1992-94) alone, while it is estimated that during the Bosnian War (1992-95) between 20,000 and 50,000 women, mainly Muslim were held in such camps. Apart from this women and girls were gang raped in the streets and in front of their families as per routine.

In short, to cover all the abominable crimes of the central force, especially against their own Muslim minority, and recording of innumerable acts of torture and shame, requires a heart of stone and the conscience of the devil, and to counter with the knowledge that all this happened just 15 years back, only one year before the US/Allies hurled upon Iraq and Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons, is most bewildering. How was the UN/NATO so helpless when atrocious crimes were being committed right under their noses and how it finds such strength now, just one year later; perhaps because in both cases the aim was to target and hurt the Muslims?

In the aftermaths of the balkanization of Yugoslavia, many high officials have been charged for different war crimes but only a small number have been convicted. Many are still on the run, many await their trials to begin and those convicted are just a handful:

Milan Milutinovic, President, Republic of Serbia (1997-2002), acquitted.

Nikola Saainovic, Yugoslav Deputy PM, guilty on all counts, sentence: 22 years prison.

Dragoljub Ojdanic, Chief of General Staff, guilty to two counts, sentence: 15 years in prison.

Nebojsa Pavkovic, Commander Third Army, guilty on all counts, sentence: 22 years prison.

Vladimir Lazarevic, Commander Pristina Corps, guilty of two counts, sentence: 15 years prison.

Sreten Lukic, Chief of Staff, Serbian police, guilty on all counts, sentence: 22 years prison.

All these sentences clearly show the light-handedness with which the courts handled these cases, giving single sentences to those who killed in the multiples (compare this with the multilple sentences given to Afia Siddique for attempted murder).

Slobodan Milošević, President of Serbia, 1989 to 1997 and President of Yugoslavia, 1997 to 2000, was arrested in March 2001 and faced trial for a lavish 5 years, never being actually convicted, only dying in prison. Ratko Mladic responsible for the Siege of Sarajevo and Srebrenica massacre and Goran Hadzic responsible for mass force transfers and exterminations, have only recently been apprehended captured by Serbian authorities. 

According to the final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts: All parties involved in the conflict have committed «grave breaches» of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian law. These violations include the killing of civilians, rape torture, and the deliberate destruction of civilian property, including cultural and religious property, such as churches and mosques. But, there are significant qualitative differences. Most of the violations were committed by Serbs against Bosnian Muslims.

Radovan Karadzic Trial

In the wake of all this bestiality, when we hear Radovan Karadzic, President of Republika Srpska, within Bosnia/Herzegovina, guilty of the Siege and Massacre of Bosnian and Serbian Muslims, on our TV screens, delivering his desired version of the cases, in the comfort-zone of a lavish trial, that has started its hearing after 4 years of his capture, only to see him more confident and satisfied, tears up the heart. 

It tears us because we remember, 12 years back, in 2003, another tyrant, Saddam Hussein was captured and hanged within 3 years, after a closed-door domestic trial, conducted by Ra’id Juhi, a 33 year old, appointed by Paul Bremer, while the outside world saw only caricatures of the court proceedings.  The court charged him for crimes committed against residents of Dujailin, in 1982, following a failed assassination attempt against him. Specific charges included the murder of 148 people, torture of women and children and the illegal arrest of 399 others. Not that Saddam was a good guy, but because he was a Muslim, he was portrayed as the cruelest man on earth, and bashed day and night on international media for years, as a despicable disease that the US heroically smashed under their feet; only to train the Muslims of the world of what their real worth is. 

And it tears us to hear, the man against whom, extensive footage of evidence is publically available, the witnesses of whose crime are present right outside his court-room, who has not killed 148 but in uncountable thousands and he has not had women and children tortured, he had them enslaved and gang-raped for full 10 years. And here’s what this person says to the world today:

“I am mild man, a tolerant man… instead of being accused of the events in our war, I should be rewarded for all the good things I have done…. I did everything humanly possible to avoid the war. … I succeeded in reducing the suffering of all civilians…. some of the worst atrocities of the war, including two deadly shelling attacks on a Sarajevo marketplace in 1994 and 1995, were ‘orchestrated’ to turn public opinion against Serbs…”

UN prosecutors have charged Karadzic with being the “supreme commander” of an ethnic cleansing campaign of Muslims and Croats in the 1992-95 Bosnian war in which 100,000 people were killed and 2.2 million displaced. He has charges of not 11 killings (like the ones Saddam had done), but of 11 genocides over him, yet the Hague finds patience and grace to hear him in a playful amusement, while he out-wits his audience; and this too after the luxury to wait for him to end a self-assumed year-long boycott to the trial; a trial that has started after 8 years of him being ‘on the run’ and 4 other years in captivity. Why does humanity not need him to be convicted and hanged immediately?  Why are we confronting the many possibilities by virtue of which his butchery could be considered something ‘good’ by any means? Why does he have the opportunity to use the many loop-holes the judicial-system has to his will and benefit?

Humanity that has come to the zenith of its progress today, today it has gathered the expertise and infrastructure which allows it to show the vilest through a glass of shining ‘good’; and through this zenith Karadzic is calling upon ignorant humanity to learn from his ‘mild and tolerant nature’. He is actually going to attempt to malign the Muslim minority again, and he is basing his case on the allegation that the scattered minority of Muslims had imperialistic ambitions, he says:

”I will defend that nation of ours and their cause that is just and holy. We have a good case. We have good evidence and proof”. ”They had an Islamist goal. They wanted 100 per cent power as it was in the days of the Ottoman Empire. There were fundamental goals changing the destiny of a whole region,” he said. “They want Islamic fundamentalism and wanted it from 1991 to 1995.” 

And the International Court in Hague listens, and the international media speculates about the outcomes of the trial and the Muslims of the world confront their TV screens with loathe and terror; at the wake of an international system of positive discrimination for the favored race, the Christian-White and a foul prejudice against a disapproved Muslim-Light.

 This article was first published here