The difficulty to prove what is known

posted by Julia on 2008/08/30 22:24

[ War crimes and the ICTY ]

“You are charged with genocide. How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?” Mr. Karadzic, standing, replied: “I will not plead.” (source: NY Times, 29.8.08; more background info by AFP, the ICTY website and on M. Mardell's BBC blog). As M. Mardell remarks in his  blog, the main difficulty in cases like Karadzic's is not to reconstruct what happened - because that is widely known - but to provide evidence of personal responsibility of the person indicted:

"But is there is a bigger problem with such courts? Karadzic himself has evidently said that "everybody in the world" thinks he is guilty. Few deny that the killings, rapes and torture took place and few deny they were a terrible wrong (some, of course, do and either claim they did not happen on such a scale or were a part of the conduct of war). Few deny that Karadzic was in political control although it's notoriously difficult to establish who gave what exact commands."

Two days before Karadzic's second appearance before the ICTY, Florence Hartmann, ex-spokesperson of Carla del Ponte was indicted for "willfully disclosing information" on the Milosevic process in her book "Paix et châtiment" ("Peace and Punishment"). In this book, she argues inter alia that the ICTY held back evidence to protect Serbia in the ICJ genocide case Bosnia vs. Serbia (background on wikipedia) and that the US and Western European governments did not seriously attempt to arrest Karadzic and Mladic as they feared destabilisation in the region and in their relationship with Belgrade (cf. an interview with her and an article by her).


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