Jewish World Review July 31, 2002 / 22 Menachem-Av, 5762
Debra J. Saunders
No order in the court
If you had any doubt as to whether President Bush
was right to reject U.S.
participation in the United Nations International
Criminal Court, check out former Yugoslavian
President Slobodan Milosevic's U.N.-sponsored war
crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Milosevic is charged with 66 counts for the torture,
murder and/or forced deportation of hundreds
thousands of ethnic Albanians, Bosnian Muslims and
Croats. Gruesome crimes, yet the three judges who
are hearing the case treat the trial as if they are there
to referee a game of cricket.
Last week, a court-appointed doctor said that
Milosevic's spirited self- defense -- Milosevic is a
former law student who refuses to hire an attorney --
could give him a heart attack.
As if that's a bad thing.
Somehow Milosevic's telltale ticker survived a war
that left 200,000 dead. But according to the swells on
the U.N. bench, appearing before them is so stressful
that it could kill the former strongman.
The court reacted by canceling two days of the trial
and practically begging Milosevic to hire an
assistant, as one judge put it, to "share cross-
examination of witnesses."
The trial had a 14-month deadline, but it now seems
likely that concern for Milosevic's dubious heart could
extend the circus.
The very idea that there need be an elaborate
prosecution has turned the trial into a farce.
Genocide -- one of the U.N. charges -- isn't exactly a
whodunit. Milosevic was head of state. His troops
killed, raped and plundered; they did it over and over
again and under official cover. You don't need that
Perry Mason confessional moment to prove Slobo's
responsibility. This isn't Colonel Mustard in the library
with the candlestick.
Just as publicity infected the O.J. Simpson trial, it's
hit The Hague. Richard Dicker, who monitored the
trial for the New York-based Human Rights Watch,
actually told the Washington Post that he had yet to
see "a smoking gun" that proved Milosevic knew
what was happening.
Apparently, unless Slobo kept a faithful diary, there's
no definitive proof.
Europeans should be outraged at the court for being
so weak -- except they save all their outrage for
President Bush, who committed the crime of
"unilateralism." It doesn't matter that Great Britain
negotiated an agreement that exempted its troops
serving in Afghanistan from ever appearing before the
U.N. court. Or that the Brits also bartered the same
loophole for the French and other U.N. peacekeeping
troops. Saying you support the pact while writing in
loopholes that exempt you, why, that's called
Their stand shows what the International Criminal
Court really is about -- self-congratulation. There's no
death penalty -- even for the murder of thousands of
civilians -- because Euro diplomats are so superior
that they wouldn't stoop to capital punishment, even
for a Hitler wannabe. They're so sporting that they
allow Milosevic more than equal time to
cross-examine -- in this case, read: badger --
They're so refined that they offer every courtesy to a
man who made some 1 million people homeless.
"What do people do around the world when they see
the judges say, 'We better slow things down. This
guy might have a heart attack'?" asked Hoover
Institution fellow Dennis Bark. "Do they think it's
Only if they are European diplomats.
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