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The Mladic Case: A Stain On Civilization


Christopher Black, international criminal lawyer, examines the legal procedures at the trial of general Mladic, and finds them inadequate. First published at NEO

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All that is a lie. This is a NATO-style trial.

The defiant words of General Mladic to the judges of the NATO controlled ad hoc war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia rang out loud and clear the day they pretended to convict him. He could have added ‘but history will absolve me” and a lot more but he was thrown out of the room by the chief judge, Orie, in his condescending style, as if he was dealing to a truant schoolboy, instead of a man falsely accused of crimes he did not commit.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, echoed the general’s words on November 23,

We have again to state that the guilty verdict, delivered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia against Mladic, is the continuation of the politicized and biased line, which has initially dominated the ICTY’s work.

Both General Mladic and the Russian government are correct. The document called a “judgement” proves it for it reads like a propaganda tract instead of a court judgement. In just over 2500 pages the trio of “judges” recite the prosecution version of events nonstop, from the first paragraph to the last. The defence is mentioned only in passing.

The ICTY rejects claims that it is a biased court, a NATO court but they proved it with the very first witnesses they called to set the stage for what was to follow. A man named Richard Butler was called to testify on general military matters and the political structure in Bosnia and the Republic Srpksa. He was introduced as a “military analyst” which he is, but not an independent one. No, at the time of his testimony he was a member of the United States National Security Agency, seconded to the ICTY as a staffer.

So, the first witness against General Mladic was biased on two counts. He worked for the American intelligence services that supported the enemies of General Mladic and Yugoslavia, and he was part of the prosecution staff. It is as if the NSA and the prosecutor had, at the same time, stepped into the box to testify against the accused. Butler’s testimony plays a large role in the trial; the same role he played in the trial of General Krstic.

Another military analyst expert then appears, Reynaud Theunens, also working on the staff of the prosecution. Experts in criminal trials are supposed to be completely neutral. But not only was he acting on behalf of the prosecutor, he was at the same time a Belgian Army intelligence officer. So there we have it right at the opening of the trial. The stage is set; NATO is in charge of the case. NATO officers work inside the tribunal. It is a NATO tribunal in UN disguise. Accordingly, throughout the judgement NATO crimes, and the crimes of the opposing Bosnian forces are never referred to. The context is deliberately constricted to give a very narrow and distorted picture of events.

The judgement continues with detailed recitations of prosecution witness testimony. Defence witnesses, on the few occasions they are referred to, never have their testimony set out in like detail. One line is devoted to a witness and all of them are dismissed as biased if their testimony is at odds with the testimony of the prosecution witnesses.

And of what does the prosecution evidence consist? It consists of some oral testimony of NATO military officers involved in events and who were working in the UN forces against General Mladic and his forces, the testimony of opposing Bosnian Army soldiers or their families, and witness statements and “adjudicated facts,” that is “facts” held to be so by another set of judges in another case no matter whether true or false. A number of times, the judges state something to the effect that, “the defence claims X did not happen and relied on certain evidence to support that claim. Where this evidence conflicts with the adjudicated facts we reject it.”

There are many instances of reliance on hearsay. Time and again, a paragraph in the judgment begins with the words, “The witness was told…” Thanks to corrupt jurists like Canadian former prosecutor Louise Arbour, the use of hearsay, even double hearsay was allowed in as evidence in these trials when it is forbidden in the rest of the world because hearsay testimony cannot be verified or checked for reliability and accuracy.

I was not able to observe much of the trial and only by video from time to time so, I am not able to comment on all the factual findings of the trial judges set on in their long judgement in which they condemn General Mladic and his government in page after tedious page. Those who are aware of the real history of events will realize that every paragraph of condemnation is neither more nor less than the same NATO propaganda put out during the conflict but made to look like a judgement.

For it is not a judgement. A true judgement in a criminal trial should contain the evidence presented by the prosecution, the evidence presented by the defence, and the arguments of both sides about the evidence. It must contain references to witness testimony both as witnesses testified in chief and in cross-examination. Then there must be a reasoned decision by the judges on the merits of each party’s case and their reasoned conclusions.

But you will be hard pressed to find a trace of any of the defence evidence in this document. I could find none except for a few references in a hand full of paragraphs and some footnotes in both of which testimony of a defence witness was briefly referred to in order to dismiss it and to dismiss it because it did not support the prosecution version of events.

Even more shocking is that there is little reference to verbal testimony, that is, witness testimony. Instead there are references to “experts” connected to the CIA or State Department, or other NATO intelligence agencies who set out their version of history, which the judges accept without question. There is no reference to any defence experts.

Consequently, there are no reasoned conclusions from the judges as to why they decided to accept the prosecution evidence but not the defence evidence. From reading this one would think no defence was presented, other than a token one. That is not a judgement.

But there is something even more troubling about this “judgement.” It is not possible to make out if many of the witnesses referred to testified in person because there are few references to actual testimony. Instead there are countless references to documents of various kinds and “witness statements.”

This is an important factor in these trials because the witness statements referred to are statements made, or are alleged to have been made by alleged witnesses to investigators and lawyers working for the prosecution. We know from other trials that in fact these statements are often drafted by prosecution lawyers as well as investigators, and then presented to the “witnesses” to learn by rote. We know also that the “witnesses” often came to the attention of the prosecution by routes that indicate the witnesses were presenting fabricated testimony and were recruited for that purpose.

At the Rwanda tribunal, we made a point in our trial of aggressively cross-examining these “witnesses” and they invariably fell apart on the stand, since they could not remember the scripts assigned to them. We further made a point of asking the “witnesses” how they came to meet with prosecution staff and how the interviews were conducted and how these statements were created.

The results were an embarrassment to the prosecution as it became clear they had colluded with investigators to manipulate, pressure and influence “witnesses” and that they were complicit in inventing testimony.

Further, it is important for anyone reading this “judgement” to be able to refer to the pages in the transcripts at which the witnesses testified, what they testified to, and what they said in cross-examination, because a statement is not testimony. It is just a statement.A statement cannot be used as evidence. That requires the witness to get in the box and to state under oath what they observed. Then they can be questioned as to the reliability as observers, their bias if any, their credibility and so on.

But in this case we see hundreds of references to “witness statements.” This indicates that the judges based their “judgement” not on the testimony of the witnesses (if they were called to testify) but on their written statements, prepared by the prosecution, and without facing any cross-examination by the defence.

It is not clear at all from this judgement that any of the witnesses referred to in the statements actually testified or not. If they did then their testimony should be cited, not their statements. The only valid purpose the statements have is to notify the lawyers what a witness is likely to say in the trial, and to disclose the prosecution case to the defence so they can prepare their case and then use the statements in the trial to cross examine the witness by comparing the prior statement with their testimony under oath in the witness box.

The formula is a simple one. The prosecution witness gets in the box, is asked to state what he observed about an event and then the defence questions the witness –

Mr. Witness, in your statement dated x date you said this, but today you say that. …Let’s explore the discrepancy.

That’s how it is supposed to go. But where is it in this case? It is nowhere to be found.

It would take a book to recite the problems with the “trial” as exposed by this judgement. But there is one example which highlights the rest relating to Srebrenica and concerns a famous meeting that took place at the Fontana Hotel on the evening of July 11, 1995.

At this meeting General Mladic meets with a Dutch peacekeeper colonel to arrange the evacuation of the civilians in the Srebrenica area and the possible laying down of arms of the 28th Bosnian Army Division.

There is a video of that meeting available on YouTube.

I paraphrase but it shows General Mladic asking why NATO planes were bombing his positions and killing his men. He asks why the UN forces were smuggling weapons to the Bosnian military. He asks why the UN forces tried to murder him personally. To each question he receives an apology from the Dutch officer. He then asks the Dutch officer if he wants to die and he says no. Mladic replies, nor do my men want to die, so why are you shooting at them? No answer.

The rest of the video concerns discussion of a plan to evacuate the town during which Mladic offers the UN men cigarettes, and offers some wine to ease the tension. For me, as a defence lawyer, it is a crucial element of the defence to the charges concerning Srebrenica.

But no reference to this video is made in the judgement.

Instead the judges refer to the testimony of several UN-NATO officers who were at the meeting in which they totally distort and twist what was said. There is no clue that the defence cross-examined those liars using the video; “Sir you state that this was said, but here in the video it shows that you are wrong. What do you say?”

It is nowhere. Was it used and ignored by the judges or not used? I have no idea. But it is clear that the prosecution chose not to use it because it would mean the collapse of their case. For even on the prosecution evidence it is clear that the men of the 28th Division refused to lay down their arms and fought their way to Tuzla. Most were killed in the fighting on the way. Many were taken prisoner. A handful of Bosnian witnesses claim these prisoners were massacred. But their testimony is of the “I was the lone miraculous survivor of the massacre” variety they tend to use in these trials.

I won’t enter into the heavy use of the bogus legal concept of joint criminal enterprise to attach criminal liability to the general, guilt by association and without intent. That they used it shows they know they had no case against him.

In summary this document contains within it little sense of the defence case or what the facts presented by the defence were, what the defence arguments were on the facts, nor their full legal arguments. But most importantly we have no idea what the testimony was of most of the prosecution witnesses and no idea what the testimony was of defence witnesses. It is as if there was no trial, and the judges just sat in a room sifting through prosecution documents writing the judgement as they went. We must suppose that this is not far from the truth.

This “judgement” and the trial are another humiliation of Yugoslavia and Serbia by the NATO alliance since it is clear from its creation, financing, staffing and methods that the ICTY is a NATO controlled tribunal. This is confirmed by the statement of the NATO Secretary-General, who said,

I welcome the ruling…. the Western Balkans are of strategic importance for our Alliance…

In other words, this conviction helps NATO to consolidate its hold on the Balkans by keeping the Serbs down and out. General Mladic is a scapegoat for the war crimes of the NATO alliance committed in Yugoslavia, which the ICTY covers up and so assists NATO in committing more war crimes, as we have seen since.

The ICTY has proven to be what we expected it to be, a kangaroo court, using fascist methods of justice that engaged in selective prosecution to advance the NATO agenda of conquest of the Balkans as a prelude to aggression against Russia. NATO uses the tribunal as a propaganda weapon to put out a false history of the events in Yugoslavia, to cover up its own crimes, to keep the former republics of Yugoslavia under its thumb, and to justify NATO aggression and occupation of Yugoslavian territory. It is a stain on civilization.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.

62 Comments

    • Harry Stotle says

      Justice is in short supply whenever it comes to the Balkans conflict.

      “By early 1993 hundreds of stories had appeared in the international press – stories of women and young girls publically gang raped by soldiers, of mass rapes in village streets and prison camps, and of women forcibly impregnated and held captive until it was too late for them to have abortions” (p1)
      http://mcherifbassiouni.com/wp-content/uploads/Sexual-Violence-an-Invisible-Weapon-of-War.pdf

      A definitive number of war casualities is hard to arrive at (discussed in link) but the authorities, who discuss in detail the the calculations they made reckon there might have been 102,622 casualities; of these 55,261 were civilians and 47,360 militaries.
      http://archive.iussp.org/members/restricted/publications/Oslo03/5-con-tabeau03.pdf

      Setting the scene the same authorities note, “The situation in Bosnia was more complex than in Slovenia or Croatia, due to the mixed ethnic composition with two majority groups, Muslims and Serbs, and the absence of a single ethnic Muslim republic in the former Yugoslavia. If the Bosnian Muslims remained in the post-1991 Bosnia that would belong to the rump Yugoslavia, their educational or job opportunities would be severely limited by the dominance of Serbs. But breaking away from Yugoslavia put Bosnia in a particularly difficult position, as the Bosnians were left with no support other than the one expected from the international community. And the international community did not rush with the recognition of Bosnia’s independence.”

      My own opinion is that Occam’s razor is probably a good a principle as any to frame some of the things that happened between ’92 and ’95, but I guess if the likes of ICTY is totally discredited it means that whatever happens in the war zone, stays in the war zone?

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    • @Yonatan. Precisely; the evidence was framed around the verdict: even before the trial, Serbia had already been found guilty by the ICC (International Capitalist Community) of obstructing the future TAP (Trans Albanian Pipeline) by refusing to hand over its territory. And the sentence was Invasion by Daesh and Dismemberment by NATZO. That was the price which Albania had demanded for allowing the ICC to run the TAP.

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  1. Greg Bacon says

    One has to ask why so many defendants manage to die at the Hague. At least 15… Looks like some in the West don’t want these alleged war criminals to go to trial, like the war criminal Bill Clinton.

    The dramatic public suicide by poison of Bosnian Croat General Slobodan Praljak, yesterday 29 November 2017 in a ‘war crimes trial’ courtroom in the Hague, Netherlands. Was actually the 15th death in custody of the small number of Balkan defendants at the Hague over the last few years, 3 by suicide and 12 by ‘disease & natural causes’

    It is statistically virtually impossible that so many deaths in a small group of middle-aged men occurred ‘naturally’

    Many of the people suddenly dead were said to be the most insistent on exposing the war crimes of NATO, such as Slobodan Milosevic.Tho it is true various war atrocities were committed in the Balkan wars, what is also discrediting about these ‘war crimes trials’ is that only certain ethnic defendants were chosen for prosecution.

    By those same grounds, why are not many Western Nato leaders on trial for ‘war crimes’, for ‘conspiring’, ‘allowing’ etc war crimes in Libya, Syria, Iraq and many other places?

    USA war crime manipulations, includied conducting a fraudulent ‘impeachment’ of US President Bill Clinton, in order to extort him into approving an illegal bombing of Serbia & massacre of civilians, which even the murderous Clinton found difficult to stomach … when Clinton agreed to do the bombing, he was ‘acquitted’ and allowed to remain alive for 2 more decades.

    Another aspect of the Hague ‘war crimes trials’, is that the judges at times, especially some USA ones, behaved as openly sadistic, psychopathic abusers of their defendants, obsessively seeking to cover up for Nato crimes, with CIA etc agents weaponizing militias amongst the Balkan populations..

    https://www.henrymakow.com/2017/12/War-Crimes-Tribunal.html

    Dead men tell no tale nor do they talk about war crimes committed by the West.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael McNulty says

    It is preposterous to talk of war crimes trials if Bush and Blair, the two biggest killers still alive, are not prosecuted for all that they unleashed. Anything less is not justice it is politics.

    I would think if the US starts war against Russia [or China, North Korea etc] and loses, then western leaders who survive it will be hunted down for trial. I wonder if that possibility is why some of them are crawling out of the woodwork now, to get a defensive statement in. Blair, Campbell, Brown etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    • bevin says

      And then there is ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis whose responsibility for the campaigns against Fallujah are regarded in the US (and therefore in its satellites) as qualifications for high office.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Harry Stotle says

    Black doesn’t say in so many words but the implication of the OP is that he doesn’t fully accept that atrocities were committed in Srebenica (by the Army of Republika Srpska), or if he does accept it he is implying these crimes were committed by another Ratko Mladić, or by another army?

    It may well be that the ICTY lacks credibility, has been selective in the actors it has pursued, and by all accounts less than rigorous with regard to the standard of evidence it has relied on, but none of this discounts the distinct possibility Mladić committed terrible deeds.
    http://www.thejournal.ie/srebrenica-ratko-mladic-anniversary-trial-massacre-454245-Nov2017/

    As Naser Oric, the guerilla commander of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, rolled across Bosnia he was committing atrocities that undoubtedly stirred up ancient grievances blighting the region and may well have sown the seeds that led to Mladić taking extreme measures.

    In this context we can view Srebenica as ‘pay back’ while the role of the UN was redolent of Sabra and Chatila as the so called peace keeping force stood by while the controlling military force had their way with stranded Bosnian civilians.

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    • People should not be convicted because of a “distinct possibility” of guilt should they? That’s what trials are for, to examine the “distinct possibility” and see if it holds up in law. The point of the article is that the court completely failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and, more importantly, failed to even abide by the normal standards of evidence and accountability.

      To even suggest this doesn’t matter because he might have been guilty is to abandon the basic principles of justice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Harry Stotle says

        I did not say that Mladić was guilty, although I did say ‘the ICTY lacks credibility, has been selective in the actors it has pursued, and by all accounts less than rigorous with regard to the standard of evidence it has relied on’.

        I am just saying that claims have been made that terrible things happened in Srebenica (leaving aside the NATO bombing) and if wasn’t the Serbian forces, led by Mladić then who was it – I mean is there a counter narrative that you are aware of that gives a better explanation?

        Lets start with 2 simple questions
        Were thousands of Bosnians raped and murdered in Srebenica?
        If so who was the most likely perpetrator?

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          • Harry Stotle says

            I asked 2 simple questions;
            Were thousands of Bosnians raped and murdered in Srebrenica?
            If so who was the most likely perpetrator?

            Obviously you do not have to address these points if you don’t want to, but both are unavoidable if we are to get a handle on the true nature of these events.

            I have already touched on serious failings in the trial process but weak legal evidence does not completely exonerate Mladić either.

            As I see it there are two seperate possibilities (if people truly believe Mladić to be innocent) – either Srebrenica is a myth, or Srebrenica is true but the atrocities were committed while Mladić was busy polishing his halo.

            So again I ask – can you think a credible counter narrative if Mladić was not orchestrating events?

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            • I am not debating you, I’m just trying to keep discussion within the remit of the article, as is my job as a moderator. The wider scope of the question whether given events did or did not happen is not covered by this article. But, given the fact Mladic was convicted without evidence, it would seem fairly obvious his prosecutors could not find any such evidence. Which implies either no such events occurred at all or there is no evidence for Mladic being involved in them.

              As to which of these is the case I am not qualified to say. We have hosted some articles in the past that deal with fakery and widespread deception in the Balkans conflict zones. If you search through “Yugoslavia” you’ll find them.

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              • Harry Stotle says

                In the piece you link to Herman says ‘the Bosnian Serb Army took over Srebrenica in July, 1995, and there were deaths and executions after that.’ – ‘The numbers executed there were probably in the order of between 500 and 1,000.’ which Herman refers to as ‘Vengeance executions.’

                So it seems you are rather agreeing with precisely the point I made ealier, namely that Srebrenica was payback for previous Bosnian atrocities in the form of vegence executions.

                Having said that, Herman is a university professor in Pennsylvania and I could find nothing in the article to suggest he had been to Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to interview survivors or examine the forensic evidence first hand.

                I can accept that singling out Mladić says a great deal about the post-war propaganda that seriously discredits legal impartiality but even so if we take the best case scenario described by Herman this still suggests many hundredrs of summary executions carried by Serbian forces without any of the legal nicieties that Mladić was deprived off.

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                • Ellie says

                  I said you seemed disingenuous, now I know you are.

                  2,000+ Serb civilians were murdered by the Bosnian army, including women and children.

                  In response the Serbian army executed 500-1,000 soldiers deemed responsible for this massacre.

                  You don’t even mention the numbers of innocent civilians slaughtered in the real massacre (over 2,000 let’s not forget), and try to equate the two events, or describe the punishment meted out to the murderers as “vengeance.”

                  This is like describing the Nuremberg executions as a “massacre” and ignoring the Holocaust.

                  Why do you have nothing to say about the fact the wester ignores those 2,000 dead women and children and describes their murderers as victims?

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              • Harry Stotle says

                These links tell us atrocities were committed by both sides, in particular by Naser Oric who I mentioned earlier.

                Are you suggesting reprisals are justified in such circumstances?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Ellie says

                  Are you saying the murderers of women and children should go un-punished?

                  You are disingenuously trying to morally equate the slaughter of innocent civilians with the executions of those who did the crimes. Bosnian soldiers slaughtered thousands of Serb women and children. The perpetrators were then executed. Do you equate the hanging of Nazi murderers with the massacres of the Holocaust?

                  What is wrong with you?

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                  • Harry Stotle says

                    ‘Are you saying the murderers of women and children should go un-punished?’ – no, I’m not saying that and considering you are the one accusing commentators of being ‘disingenuous’ its a bit rich that you should make such baseless accusations.

                    All I’m saying (and I beginning to wish I hadn’t) is that Mladić is probably just one of several senior military and political figures responsible for war crimes in Bosnia.

                    The legal process (in the Mladić case) has been criticised by Black amongst others but don’t forget Naser Orić was aquitted and like Mladić I don’t think this necessarily means he was not guilty of exploiting sectarian tensions in order to inflcit a range of horrible crimes.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Ellie says

                      So even though there is no evidence presented you still think he must be guilty, that is how deep your bias goes.

                      And what about the dead civilians? Still no words for them? You agree with NATO they are non-people? All you talk about is the guilt of Mladic and other Serbs, no words at all for the guilt of the Bosnian military.

                      You are soft selling a NATO agenda.

                      Liked by 1 person

        • @Harry. OK, I’ll play. Lets start with two simple questions.

          Did 2 plane crashes bring down 3 skyscrapers in NYC on 911?
          If so, who were the likely perpetrators?

          Do you see that, without a proper investigation and due process of law, it is impossible even to answer 2 simple questions about something that happened in plain view and which involves objective technical factors — let alone assign guilt and deal out punishment.

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          • Harry Stotle says

            Did 2 plane crashes bring down 3 skyscrapers in NYC on 911? – yes, although you know, and I know, it was controlled explosives that caused the collapse(s) despite what NIST and others say.

            If so, who were the likely perpetrators? – the neocons probably, although Christopher Black might see it as a stain against humanity (if neocons were ever held to account) if the legal evidence in any trial against them was on par with that used against Mladić .

            I mean you can see where I’m coming from – not all covert deeds are easy to prove in a court of law although this lack of proof to meet certain legal standards does not discount the possibility certain things still went down a certain way.

            Now even the anti-NATO lobby accept at least hundreds of Bosnians, and maybe as many as one thousand were summarily executed, so if it wasn’t Mladić (or his forces) then who was it – and at the risk of repeating myself I am fully aware that this may have been a tit for tat type action given the previous atrocities committed by Bosnian militia.

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            • Big B says

              Harry: are you being obtuse? We are not talking about ‘crimes’ – we are talking about GENOCIDE; crimes against humanity, and war crimes …for which no evidence has been produced. And to be quite honest, even if any had been produced – in any other country in the world …THIS TRIAL WOULD BE DECLARED A MISTRIAL, THE VERDICT NULL AND VOID …and Mladic would be a free man. This was a kangaroo court!

              The context of this trial was to prove GENOCIDE (without evidence) …because the non-existant GENOCIDE was used to justify a real GENOCIDE (at the very least, an ethnic cleansing) and illegal annexation of Kosovo …which were real crimes of aggression, crimes against the peace, and crimes against humanity …for which the real perpetrators (Clinton and Blair to name two) faced NO REPERCUSSIONS!!!

              But anyone who says what I just said in public is a genocide denier – to be tarred and feathered, and put in prison. All of this was done for wider geopolitical motives …Does any of this morally excuse Mladic? No, but it puts it in perspective.

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              • Harry Stotle says

                Well, strictly speaking not just genocide, BigB but 5 counts of ‘crimes against humanity’ i.e.
                Persecutions (Count 3)
                Extermination (Count 4)
                Murder (Count 5)
                Deportation (Count 7)
                Inhumane acts (forcible transfer) (Count 8)
                And 4 counts of ‘violations of the laws or customs of war’
                Murder (Count 6)
                Terror (Count 9)
                Unlawful attacks on civilians (Count 10)
                Taking of hostages (Count 11)
                http://www.icty.org/x/cases/mladic/cis/en/cis_mladic_en.pdf

                The likely culpability of Mladić for some of these serious crimes does not exculpate other actors, and for what its worth I’ve been ranting against the likes of Kissinger, Blair and other western imperialists for many years.

                I agree the game is rigged, and that justice is not possible while the process of investigation is controlled by those who are responsible for serial misdeeds.

                But surely Mladić must have been aware of such dynamics, and like the captured Bosnians who were powerless to stop summary executions, so he is now powerless to stop NATO proxies from pushing him around.

                In short its an ugly baby competition and only Mladić can explain why he decided to enter it.

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                • Ellie says

                  There is no evidence Mladic did anything! Why do you simply refuse to deal with that simple fact?

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                • MoriartysLeftSock says

                  The likely culpability of Mladić

                  Why do you think he is likely to be culpable?

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                  • Harry Stotle says

                    Sectarianism formed the backdrop to the conflict and lets not forget Muslim forces had been terrorising, and murdering Serbian civilians prior to the capture of Srebrenica.

                    In other words pent up grievances were made a thousand times worse by long standing ethnic tensions and these were being stoked up by manipulative war mongers on all sides.

                    After Mdladic left Srebrenica hundreds and probably thousands of dead muslims were discovered – there is no credible counter narrative to explain these deaths AFAIK other than those imposed by vengeful Serbian forces.

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                • Big B says

                  Harry: strictly speaking you are correct about the charges. Now Google or search engine of your choice “Mladic guilty of GENOCIDE” to get the bigger picture. Many, if not all, the M$M went with a variant of this headline. Feel free to contact them all to tell them they are wrong. And while you are at it, please tell Monbiot and Kamm that there was NO GENOCIDE and no CONVICTION FOR GENOCIDE!!! To question what really happened is not genocide denial …BECAUSE THERE WAS NO GENOCIDE!!! Glad we got that sorted! 🙂

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                  • Harry Stotle says

                    I am not trying to inflate numbers, BigB – you will see I have quoted from the lower end of the spectrum, i.e. estimates of 500-1000 (while acknowledging the figure might be higher).

                    It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how things can get out of hand during a bitter ethnic conflict – I’m sure similar patterns will emerge in Syria.

                    I must admit I’m a bit mystified by those who cannot see why a deeply nationalistic and military figure like Mladic was more or less bound to emerge.

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                    • Well absolutely, he was bound to appear …in the milieu of events orchestrated by London and Washington. And now he has been literally scapegoated by a kangaroo court that could produce no evidence …despite 22years to collate the facts? Did you “Google” …the MSM paint a remarkably consistent picture …”the most heinous crimes “.…”the worst attrocities since WW2″ …”the Beast of Bosnia ” …”guilty of genocide “.…”8,000 victims” …it’s emotional inculcation and indoctrination: enforced by NATO apologist attack dogs like Kamm and Monbiot …you must notice patterns and parallels with other “humanitarian” interventions? In order to justify it’s imperial interventions: NATO makes demons. Works every time!

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            • @Harry: “… you know and I know …”. No we dont. We were not there, we are surmising. This is a very bad state of public affairs, that a grave offense should be at the mercy of our personal surmise, it threatens the very foundations of the rule of law.

              To my first simple question (which was modelled on your first simple question) you answer glibly, Yes. So you know that 2 planes brought down 3 towers? Then you contradict

              Liked by 1 person

              • Oops! … then you contradict your simple Yes by saying that you know it was exposives. That’s not a serious witness for a court of Law. Verdict: unproven.

                Now consider your own simple question: “Were thousands of Bosnians raped and murdered in Srebenica?”. Until a properly constituted coroners court, untainted by NATZO or the Hague, has summoned independent witnesses and impartial medical evidence, I would say Unproven.

                Which is why you, very properly, begin your second simple question with a great big “IF so….”

                The truth is … never simple”. — Oscar Wilde

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              • Harry Stotle says

                ‘it threatens the very foundations of the rule of law’ – I disagree unless you think such conversations should be criminalised.

                In other words its OK to speculate about 9/11.
                Any sane person knows that the science does not support the neocon conspiracy theory, which was the point I was trying to make – and returing to Bosnia, the evidence while imperfect, points to crimes committed by Mladic’s forces rather than by someone else (albeit during a conflict were were all parties were culpable, including NATO)

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    • Ellie says

      You think there is actually a huge pile of evidence that Mladic committed war crimes but for some reason they didn’t use any of it at the trial and instead used made up and third hand testimony?

      Because why exactly? If the evidence was there they would have used it. There is no evidence, but your bias is so deep you somehow think he is still guilty and have to make unfounded sneers.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Did you read the article by a notable lawyer: and take stock of the conflict of interest expert witnesses, the adjudicated facts that trump contrary defence evidence, and the admissible hearsay evidence. I can’t speak for anyone else: but the answer to your question is yes. Any truth that it represents is compromised by the manner in which it was presented in court. The legality of the entire judicial process has been undermined: and that is a very worrying development for the establishment of truth …don’t you think?

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          • Harry Stotle says

            ‘Did you read the article by a notable lawyer: and take stock of the conflict of interest expert witnesses, the adjudicated facts that trump contrary defence evidence, and the admissible hearsay evidence’ – now, now BigB, I expect better of you than that – you know I have read it – in fact I acknowledge in my very first post that “the ICTY lacks credibility, has been selective in the actors it has pursued, and by all accounts less than rigorous with regard to the standard of evidence it has relied on” but at least you are decisive in your view that the court narrative is ‘a pack of lies’.

            I am obviously in the minority on this thread but I believe the overall cirumstances surrounding Srebrenica, and the evidence we do have (body count, eye witnesses, burnt out buildings, etc) make it likely reprisals were carried out even if such accounts did not meet exacting legal standards.
            By this point seething ethnic tensions had been stoked to boiling point and though acquitted it is likely Mladićs Bosnian counterpart, Naser Orić had been tormenting Serbian civilians as well.

            I have never said that I have faith in the ICTY, nor that a fair trial was conducted, I am simply asking what happened in Srebrenica.

            This thread at least divides us into two camps – those who believe no crimes were committed, thus making it impossible to suggest Mladić is guilty, and those like me who see Srebrenica as but one chapter in an ancient sectarian feud that at different times and by different factions resulted in civilians being abused, raped, and murdered.

            Or look at it another way – how many wars have there been were terrorising civilians have not been par for the course ?
            Some people here seem to think Mladić is a noble exception – bollocks is what I say.

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            • Harry: if you read all my comments – you can easily see that until I read this, I was in the same “camp” as you. And, in wanting to know what happened in Srebrenica – I still am. The reason for the tone of my last comment was not to say that you had not read it – but to question: did you understand the full implications of it? The subversion and politicization of “due process” has betrayed both the truth and the memory of the victims of terror on both sides. Those people are unpeople: to whom the politicised predetermined verdict also functions as an injunction on their truth. It is a final dehumanisation and defilement of the dead. You are no longer allowed to question the “Srebrenica Genocide” – BY RULE OF LAW! If you do, you are likely to be tarred as a genocide denier. Sorry Harry, but your “but he’s still guilty” argument kinda misses the point of the article. If we want to know the truth – along with NATOs designated unpeople – we’ve all been betrayed.

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              • Harry Stotle says

                OK, I can accept most that, and you make a very good point when you say ‘The subversion and politicization of “due process” has betrayed both the truth and the memory of the victims of terror on both sides. Those people are unpeople: to whom the politicised predetermined verdict also functions as an injunction on their truth.’

                Black has called out the ICTY which we should all pay attention to – my only gripe all along has concerned assumptions that flow from a failed legal process which have led people to believe Mladic was not instrumental in reprisals.

                The circumstantial evidence against Serbian forces at Srebrenica and the sectarian backdrop to the conflict driven by a toxic brew of ethinic, national, and religious identities made tit-for-tat punishments a near certainty in my opinion.

                As an aside is Black saying that legal failings were endemic across all the ICTY hearings, or was Mladic just the unlucky one out of 160 pther cases from which 62 have been convicted?
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_indicted_in_the_International_Criminal_Tribunal_for_the_former_Yugoslavia

                At random (from the WIKI list) I notice a cheeky scamp named Haradin Bala, a Kosovo Albanian who plied his trade as a KLA prison camp guard.
                Mr Bala apparently received 13 years at the ICTY for ‘Direct participation in killings of Serb civilians in the Berisha mountainside, war crimes regarding illegal imprisonment, cruel treatment, inhumane acts, and murder at the Lapušnik prison camp.’ – presumably the former prison guard should be released immediately if the same the lack of standards applied to Mdladic was applied to Mr Turnkey?

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                • This link explains how the whole process was flawed and very probably illegal: as the UN had no authority to convene the tribunal in the first place. There is no way to confirm lingering suspicion: as the tribunal set up to establish the fact failed humanity …for political purposes. That my friend, is about the sum of it.

                  Like

        • The claim in the article is that the trial and verdict were travesties of justice. Quoting the summary of the verdict is scarcely a rebuttal of this claim. If the rules of evidence were broken it can be safely assumed this was because there was no legally acceptable evidence in the case. The absence of evidence is of itself an implication of innocence. Unless one has an agenda that overrides logic and reason.

          Like

          • Harry Stotle says

            ‘Quoting the summary of the verdict is scarcely a rebuttal of this claim’, eh, I do no such thing.

            I provided the link to shed light on the narrative i.e the nature of crimes that were said to be committed – I did not say the allegations in it served as a rebuttal.

            A bodged trial does not make Mladic’ innocent for the reasons I have already stated.

            Like

        • As a final thought, Harry: if you compromise and politicise the rule of law …and subvert its due process …how can you expect the verdict to be true?

          Like

          • Harry Stotle says

            That’s a strawman BigB since I am not advocating we circumvent the rule of law – for the n’th time I have already acknowledged failings in the legal process.

            Its the rush to rehabilitate Mladić’s reputation that I have a problem with (because of a botched trial).

            I haven’t seen this sort of revisionism since peak David Irving.

            Like

            • If they followed the rule of law – Mladic would have been acquitted! The only people guilty of revisionism are NATO!

              Like

    • I have down voted you precisely because your stated opinion is suggestive of the attitude that there’s no smoke without fire – and gallows logic; he might have done it and somebody should pay and it doesn’t matter if we’ve got the right guy? How many people have to die in these kangaroo courts, later to be proven innocent(like Milosevic)before people like you decide that we really should be civilized as opposed to mob ruled?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Harry Stotle says

        Hang on, I haven’t suggested Mladić or anybody else should be on trial – so I’m not sure how you made that leap, if anything I have strongly criticised the lack of legal impartiality.

        Anyway, I know I am repeating myself but even anti-NATO commentators like Herman (see above) admit that up to 1,000 ‘vengeance executions’ were carried out in Srebrenica.

        Now I doubt if Bosnians shot themselves so if not the Serbian leader who controlled the area and who was already aware of Bosnian counter atrocities, then who – its a question nobody seems willing or able to answer (i.e. a credible counter narrative).

        Like

  4. Forwarded this post to a Serbo-American friend, with the quotation below. Like BigB, I comfortably believed “the civil war in YugoSlavia” was just another tiresome example of backward behaviour in the Balkans; but flipped when NATZO & EU under Clinton & BLiar dropped more bombs on Belgrade than the Nazis had done. The Guardian’s cheer leading of rape and mass murder in Iraq, by Bush & BLiar, wiped the sleep from my eyes. Thank God for the tiny grains of mustard seed which continue to put out green shoots in little patches of unpoisoned soil, like here in Off-Guardian.

    The truth rarely, if ever, convinces its opponents; it simply outlives them. — “Mad Max” Planck

    Like

  5. Big B says

    Wow! I’m stunned!!! Up until I read this I had believed that Mladic perhaps had committed some crimes …but the numbers and severity of them had been politicicised and exaggerated to sanctify the NATO narrative. [I say Mladic: unfortunately, in law, he would be held responsible for the actions of all of his men if they took revenge for Naser Oric’s attacks. I strongly suspect the man himself is innocent, especially having read this.] And any talk of genocide could only be reverse applied to NATO. In fact, any determination of ‘crimes’ is relative: when Mladic was in defence of his homeland against an outside invasion and internal (plus imported Jihadi) ethno-civil war – both fomented by NATO. I still do not know if he (and his fellow co-defendants – see caveat) were wholly innocent – but right now I am prepared to cut them some slack …A lot of slack! Facts are sacred – especially in a court of law. It’s just there don’t seem to be any???

    I have been aware that this was a show trial for some time; and commented as much just the other day. This is the ‘Victors Justice’. I likened the trial to the Nuremberg Trials of the Allies: on reflection, these proceedings have more in common with the politicisation and subversion of the principles of Law in Roland Friesler’s Peoples Courts. “Adjudicated Facts” that refute all other evidence: is that not a legal wraparound straight out of the Nazi playbook?

    Talking of adjudicated facts: isn’t that how Monbiot refutes Carlos Martins Branco, Ed Herman, David Peterson, Chomsky, and anyone else who questions his magic realist authority as arbiter of the ‘official’ narrative …and by which he labels them as “genocide deniers”? We only want the truth George. The more you style yourself as an attack dog for the left-liberal intelligentsia: the more suspicious we become…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Afriend says

    Somebody posted this piece to Oliver Kamm’s twitter, and got an instant Block ! 😀

    Just yesterday Neil Clark started legal procedures against the odious Kamm 🙂

    Like

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