- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2002

Milosevic hangs tough
Slobodan Milosevic is in custody of the U.N. war crimes tribunal, but the former Balkan strongman refuses to accept the legal process bearing down on him.
At a pretrial appearance before the tribunal last week, Mr. Milosevic continued to reject the legitimacy of the court, which was created by the U.N. Security Council in 1994.
He has challenged the International Criminal Tribunal For the Former Yugoslavia at the Strausbourg-based European Court of Human Rights, saying it is persecuting him with "monstrous" charges. The court has rejected similar claims by other defendants.
Last week, appearing before the tribunal itself, Mr. Milosevic renounced the court, complaining that his lead judge, Richard May, and much of the evidence against him are of British origin.
That tactic hasn't worked for any of the others who have tried it, so Mr. Milosevic who has refused to hire his own attorneys or accept the three "advocates" appointed by the court apparently will attempt to become the defendant too dangerous to try.
At his pretrial hearing, Mr. Milosevic promised that he would call NATO leaders as witnesses for the defense. The former Yugoslavian president said the alliance, not his government, perpetrated the human rights offenses in Kosovo and was attempting to deflect the blame.
"An operation is under way to reverse the scene and the culprit," Mr. Milosevic said in the brief appearance last week. "All this is geared toward a construed justification for the crimes committed during the NATO aggression on my nation."
Although Mr. Milosevic did not name them in court, party loyalists have said that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President Bill Clinton would be high on his list. They indicate that Mr. Milosevic will show how closely they have supported him, even through the beginning of the breakup of the region.
Tribunal judges have the right to vet witness lists and can at least theoretically compel a witness to testify.
Mr. Milosevic will be tried separately for the crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed since 1992 by government soldiers and aligned militias in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia.
The Kosovo trial is expected to get under way at The Hague Feb. 12, unless the chamber agrees to postpone it.
Lead prosecutor Dirk Ryneveld said last week that his team would call 110 witnesses, and offer as least as many witness statements. He estimated the prosecution could be completed by September.

Who's a terrorist?
The Security Council's counterterrorism committee is starting to take shape: Its members are divided into subgroups, the first wave of specialists has been hired, and the initial batch of reports are off to the translator.
It's a complex undertaking, but it's hard to feel confident about the early days of the most sweeping anti-terrorism effort in history.
For starters, one-third of the world's nations missed the Dec. 27 deadline to deposit with the council evaluations of their own national abilities to identify terrorists and quash their support and financing.
The rules as outlined by committee Chairman Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, seem to indicate that any of the council's 15 members can block consensus on a report, which will not be made public anyway. That means that Russia, Syria or the United States can significantly dilute comment on one of their political allies, or reject it altogether.
Mr. Greenstock rated the first 90 days of the anti-terror efforts as a limited success, and said he was pleased with the 117 reports received by Thursday especially when viewed against "the historical standards of the U.N."
But he said the council might be hamstrung by the lack of a universally accepted definition of "terrorism." Most existing conventions have a general definition, which provides basic guidelines. But these definitions are not carried forward.
However, Arab nations are demanding a specific exemption for actions against an "illegal occupation" meaning Israel's occupation and settlement, in violation of international law, of territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Syria and Lebanon, in their reports to the counterterrorism committee, said they do not consider Palestinian attacks against Israel to be terrorism.
Diplomats say the fight against terrorism must be comprehensive, rather than piecemeal. "Otherwise, the practitioners of terrorism will just dive into those areas where they find greater protection," said Mr. Greenstock.
Betsy Pisik can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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