U.N. official tells truth behind Bosnian Serb leader’s arrest
Published Aug 11, 2008 7:17 PM
At the end of July the Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic was
taken from Belgrade and placed in the Scheveningen detention center near The
Hague, Netherlands, where the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia charged him with war crimes, including “genocide,”
during the 1991-1995 civil war in Bosnia.
Those who only learn their news from the corporate media might not
realize that the ICTY was created not by the United Nations but by NATO; that
it is not an impartial court but has been directed almost exclusively against
Serbs; and that it was incapable of convicting its most famous defendant,
President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, who died in custody under
suspicious circumstances after demolishing the prosecution’s case. They
would also not learn that German and U.S. interference in Yugoslavia, with the
intention of destroying the remaining socialist-leaning state in Eastern
Europe, had provoked and prolonged the civil war in Bosnia, leading to
thousands of additional deaths. For a different view of that history, see:
Any international court that failed to put the U.S. and German leaders
on trial—those who ordered and carried out not only the 1999 war against
Yugoslavia, but 10 years of aggression that finally dismantled that
multinational country—cannot be taken seriously as an unbiased court. It
is an imperialist political tool.
Below we publish excerpts from the telling remarks of U.S. citizen
Phillip Corwin, taken from an interview by Cathrin Schütz in the
daily newspaper Junge Welt on July 31. (jungewelt.de) In the spring and
summer of 1995 Corwin was the “Civil Affairs Coordinator and Delegate of
the Special Representative for the UN Secretary General for Bosnia and
Herzegovin,” and has written a book about his experience.
Cathrin Schütz: Richard Holbrooke, Paddy Ashdown and many
other Western officials once involved with the Yugoslav crisis unanimously call
the arrest of Radovan Karadzic the capture of one of the most brutal war
criminals in contemporary history. What was your reaction to his capture and
statements like Holbrooke’s: “Karadzic would have
been a good Nazi”?
Phillip Corwin: Holbrooke and Ashdown used the wars in former
Yugoslavia to advance their own careers. Phrases like “one of the most
brutal” and “good Nazi” are purely emotional, and only remind
us of the terrible biases those men held, and the crippling damage they did as
so-called diplomats. Even now, they contribute to the Serbophobia that makes a
fair trail in The Hague almost impossible.
In any criminal proceeding, the question of intent is paramount. From my
contacts with Bosnian Serb officials, including Dr. Karadzic, I was convinced
that the general intent of the Bosnian Serb leadership was to protect Serbs,
not to kill Muslims or Croats or any other ethnic group.
CS: The main allegation is his alleged responsibility for
genocide of Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica in July 1995. At the time
Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serb army, you were the highest ranking United
Nations civilian official in Bosnia-Herzegovina. What had happened?
PC: First, one has to realize that the tragedy of Srebrenica
was part of a larger tragedy. ... What happened in Srebrenica was not a single
large massacre of Muslims by Serbs, but rather a series of very bloody attacks
and counterattacks over a three-year period, which reached a crescendo
And the number of Muslim dead in the last battle of Srebrenica, as BBC reporter
Jonathan Rooper has pointed out, was most likely in the hundreds, not in the
thousands. Moreover, it is likely that the number of Muslim dead was probably
no more than the number of Serbs who had been killed in Srebrenica and its
environs during the preceding years by Bosnian Commander Naser Oric and his
The exaggeration of the number of missing Bosnian Muslims shows that the
official reporting was political.
In May 1995, two months before the final battle at Srebrenica, 90 percent of
the Serbs living in Western Slavonia were ethnically cleansed by the Croatian
army in “Operation Flash.” A month after Srebrenica, 200,000 Serbs
were ethnically cleansed from their ancestral homes in the Krajina area of
Croatia. The international community did nothing in either case.
Srebrenica must be placed in perspective. If, indeed, 700 innocent Muslims were
massacred during the battle of Srebrenica in July 1995, then that was a war
crime and the criminals should be prosecuted. But the difference between 700
and 8,000 is political not numerical.
CS: One media article stated that “The [Yugoslavia]
Tribunal was the child, in part, of Western governments’ guilt over doing
so little to stop the war in the former Yugoslavia and its related
atrocities.” Is that what you observed?
PC: I think the main reason for the destruction of Yugoslavia
was the ambition of NATO to move eastward. Although the Cold War had ended, the
Cold Warriors were still in power. Washington still felt Russia was its biggest
threat because it had so many nuclear weapons, and Washington wanted to move up
to the borders of the former Soviet Union. ICTY was an attempt to provide a
legal framework for NATO’s eastward expansion.
ICTY was not formed out of guilt. Imperialism never suffers from guilt. ICTY
was formed to continue the pressure on those in Eastern Europe who opposed NATO
CS: Will Karadzic get a fair trial?
PC: I don’t believe Dr. Karadzic can get a fair trial in
CS: Although most of the commentators/journalists know little
or nothing about Bosnia and the Bosnian war, they all “know” that
Karadzic is a war criminal. How come?
PC: After the Vietnam War, the Pentagon knew it had to learn
to control the press. It has been very successful in doing that. During the
Yugoslav wars, the press bought the idea that NATO was fulfilling its moral
duty by opposing “Serbian racism.”
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