WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The indictment of Yugoslavia's President Milosevic by the United Nations war crimes tribunal is a victory for human rights, and for prosecutor Louise Arbour and her staff.
Milosevic and others are charged with the murder of over 340 Kosovar Muslims, aged between 2 and 95, and the deportation of 740,000 others in 1999 alone.
Also indicted are the president of Serbia, Milan Milutinovic; the deputy prime minister of Yugoslavia, Nikola Sainovic, a close aide of Milosevic; the chief of general staff of the Yugoslav army, Dragoljub Ojdanic; and Vlajko Stojiljkovic, the minister of internal affairs of Serbia.
But the indictment may do little to ease the plight of the Kosovar Muslims made homeless by Milosevic and his followers.
The UNHCR estimates that some 790,000 Muslims have left Kosovo since NATO began its air assault March 24. Many were displaced before the current exodus, and only about 10 per cent of Kosovo's 1.8 million Muslims remain in their homes in Kosovo.
In neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, another victim of Milosevic's rampaging Serbs, authorities expressed disappointment that the indictments did not cover acts committed there in the early 1990's.
The experience of the Bosnian Muslims may be an indicator of the West's commitment to easing the plight of the Kosovars.
In Bosnia, as in Kosovo, the West maintained an arms embargo on Milosevic and his Muslim victims. Thereby, the West prevented others from helping the Muslims being killed, raped, expelled from their homes, and stripped of identification papers and property records.
By the time the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed in December 1995, says the UNHCR, more than 1 million Bosnians had been displaced within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and at least 1 million more were living as refugees in some 25 other countries.
"An estimated 321,000 refugees and 253,000 internally displaced people returned to their homes in the three years following the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. But there still remain around 400,000 refugees and over 840,000 displaced persons within Bosnia-Herzegovina, most of whom cannot go back to their home villages now controlled by the Serbs."
The Dayton Peace Agreement, forged after the killing of 200,000 Muslims, in effect, legitimized Serb aggression.
The agreement set aside the Bosnian constitution, and forced the multi-party, secular, parliamentary democracy of Bosnia to accept a secession of 49 percent of its territory to the Serbs. Today, as part of a 20,000 peace-keeping force, 6000 U.S. troops are stationed in Bosnia, but they have yet to bring to trial indicted Serb warlords General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadjic who reside in a district controlled by NATO.
Now president Clinton, with his China and Russia policy in shambles, with NATO split on the use of ground forces in Kosovo, and with the U.S. Congress increasinginly reluctant to back him, is desperate for a negotiated settlement.
Dealing with the KLA had limited NATO's options, as the KLA sought only independence for Kosovo. But with the release of Ibrahim Rugova, the 'moderate' president of the self-styled Republic of Kosovo who had been under house arrest in Belgrade, the KLA have challenged the West's negotiations on their behalf.
President Clinton, having precipitated a humanitarian catastrophe, seems poised to declare victory with another Dayton type agreement, and sellout the Kosovars as he did the Bosnians. Prosecutor Louise Arbour has made a sellout more difficult for Mr. Clinton.
Jan Oberg, "The
real story: How Milosevic was much more evil than you ever knew,"
transnational.org, March 12, 2006
[Milosevic's death means that those who bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days
beginning seven years ago this month, killing thousands, will be once and
for all protected from any public scrutiny for their crimes. However
opportunistic Milosevic may have been, he would have been one of the few
people to appear at The Hague who could have Ð and would have Ð laid out
these crimes in great detail. Now, there is almost certain to be no
condemnation of the U.S. bombing of Radio Television Serbia, killing 16
media workers; the cluster bombing of the Nis marketplace, shredding human
beings into meat; the use of depleted uranium munitions; and the targeting
of petrochemical plants, causing toxic chemical waste to pour into the
Danube River. There will be no condemnation of the bombing of Albanian
refugees by the U.S., or the deliberate targeting of a civilian passenger
train, or the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.--Jeremy Scahill,
Easy, Bill Clinton: Milosevic Can't Talk Anymore," antiwar.com,
March 13, 2006]
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