Is the Hague’s War Crimes Court anything more than an irrelevant hypocrisy?
The news that Ivica Dacic (a former close colleague of Slobodan Milosevic) is almost certainly going to be the next Serbian Prime Minister should give everyone connected to the real world where morality counts pause for thought. Dacic has promised that his party won’t return to the nationalist (aka genocidal) policies of his former boss ‘Slobo’, but the newly elected President Nikolic recently denied (to a German newspaper) that genocide was undertaken in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Bosnian Serb forces and irregular units from Serbia slaughtered more than 8,000 people in 1995. As well, he said that Vukovar in Croatia, where Serb forces killed around 4,000 people in 1991, was a “Serb town”. This does not smack of a man chastened by Milosevic’s appearance in the Hague Court (he died of a heart attack there before the judgement could be finalised) and Dacic himself was the wartime spokesman for Slobodan Milosevic: he earned the nickname “Little Sloba” for his admiration of Milosevic who, let’s not beat about the bush here, approved the mass murder of folks he didn’t like from a different culture.
What the UN, the US and the EU need to recognise, however, is the itchy scab of Truth: many Serbians refuse to see the late leader as anything other than a hero.
Whatever people have or haven’t done, it is important to nail the hypocrisy of human rights, war crimes and other assorted Courts that exist to make us feel holy about what the West does. This element of Ivica Dacic’s rise to power is brought into focus by the avowed intent of the PM-elect to go full speed ahead towards joing the EU. The need for speed is, presumably, that Serbia needs to get on the gravy train before it crashes, but that’s not the point. There are in fact two points. First, many think Dacic is just saying this to award himself an aura of respectability. And the more important second point is that those very people who hounded Slobodan Milosevic to a largely unmourned death in 2006 are the same folks welcoming Dacic with open arms into the ‘European democratic mainstream’, a three-word phrase that is surely whatever an oxymoron becomes after moving on from two to three nonsenses in a row.
During a recent visit to Croatia, American Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon told the media:
“We want to see Serbia as part of Europe, as we want to see the entire region as part of Europe. It’s not matter of being acceptable to the US or not. The US considers it important to see a stable democratic process in the choice of leadership.”
In short, “Look kid, sod history – we’re talkin’ geopolitics here. Get real”. Well, Mr Gordon needs to get ethically real: the bloke was Slobo’s spin doctor during five years of rampant genocide. The equivalent would’ve been the BundesRepublik electing Albert Speer Chancellor after his release from Spandau.
The geopolitics are, of course, real enough. Nikolic served as a Nationalist Party Deputy PM alongside the socialist Dacic in the Serbian Coalition before being elected President in May. His first foreign trip as president was to Moscow, where Nikolić told Russian homoerotic hardman Vladimir Putin that Serbia is on a “long and uncertain” path to joining the European Union. Dacic in turn has allegedly told associates privately that the Kremlin pressured him to form a coalition government with the nationalist party.
A great deal of the cultural powder-keg in this region revolves around the Orthodox Church and Islamic cultures. Russia has always been the defender of Christians in the region….and both it and Serbia see Turkey’s Erdogan as a pernicious influence in the mix.
So what it comes down to once again is the blind eye and the deaf ears: let’s forget you used to be Slobo’s Alistair Campbell, and let’s pretend you aren’t still Milosevic admirers and Kosovo grabbers in private. This is about locking Vlad the Vote Impaler out.
I think War Crimes Courts are rarely anything more than show trials, and Human Rights Courts are based on the fallacy that any human being has any ‘rights’: what happens on a daily basis in this world proves beyond any reasonable doubt that every member of our species must, in the end, look after him or herself. The Hague Court and the ECHR boff on a lot about democratic liberty, while heading up the most illiberal, controlling and anti-democratic wannabe Superstate since Hitler’s Germany.
But even beyond that philosophico-ethical consideration, such Courts of ‘Law’ are to say the least of it choosy about who they’ll put on trial. Cliché or not, there is a compelling body of evidence to suggest that the human rights of Iraqi POWs were abused by both the American and British governments, that both allies invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with no legal or UN pretext for so doing, and that British Prime Minister Tony Blair condoned the illegal murder of thousands of civilians, having lied to the Mother of Parliaments about the ‘justification’ of so doing.
Where does it end, this prosecution of all acts deeemed moral and unethical by the winners?
Friend of David Cameron Recep Erdogan could be hauled up to answer charges about Kurd killings and media/opponent imprisonment without trial. Further friend of David Cameron Rupert Murdoch should stand trial at the ECHR for brazenly abusing the privacy rights of thousands of UK citizens. Union friends of Jack Dromey and Harriet Harman could answer charges of election manipulation in the promotion of Ed Miliband to the Labour leadership. Gordon Brown committed a clear offence under corporate accountancy reporting rules by quietly moving the PFI disaster off balance-sheet. Friend of Tony Blair Silvio Berlusconi lied to Brussels, rigged elections, bribed judges and had sex with minors.
Most of us accept that, sad as it might be, none of these people is going to wind up in any Court of law on charges of a custodial nature. That’s an issue of equality before the Law about which The Slog has posted ad nauseam to an apathetic body public. The ‘crimes against humanity’ Courts are a different matter entirely. By their very existence, these institutions wish us to believe that there is indeed a higher moral law, and it must be respected. I like the idea, but the fact is that it is abused wherever it surfaces. And worst of all, it has no real effect: Ivica Dacic will come to power in Serbia, and must be appeased or courted – depending on your viewpoint.
I don’t think there is a higher law, because I don’t believe that one obscure species on one speck of dust in an infinite Universe could ever possibly deserve it. If that species both created and stuck to such a secular law, then I would applaud it. But as we never do, I don’t see the point of engaging further with hoity-toity ‘Crime’ institutions. Like Slobo, I refuse to accept their validity.