Carla Del Ponte skewed her indictments in favor of the aggressors
The below article is very important and quite
shocking. It is written by someone who worked on the
Milosevic indictment. He alleges that Del Ponte
personally intervened to prevent Milosevic's
co-conspirators from being indicted. The whole piece
demonstrates clearly the political way in which the
This piece really should get some press coverage,
coming as it does from someone who worked on the
Frankly, the ICTY should be closed down at once.
Comment: Milosevic Death Exposes Tribunal's Failure
The trial itself diverted world opinion from the
court's fundamentally flawed pursuit of justice.
By Marko Attila Hoare (Balkan Insight, 17 March 06)
Slobodan Milosevic was not only the most notorious
villain of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, but also
the only top Serbian or Yugoslav political and
military leader to be indicted by the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for
crimes carried out in Croatia and Bosnia and
Herzegovina from 1991 to 1995.
Milosevic's indictments for these crimes speak of a
'joint criminal enterprise' involving other Yugoslav
officials of similar rank and status: Yugoslav
presidency members Borisav Jovic and Branko Kostic;
Federal Secretary of People's Defence Veljko
Kadijevic; Yugoslav People's Army Chief of Staff
Blagoje Adzic; and others.
Milosevic was undoubtedly the single guiltiest
individual, but he was only one member of this 'joint
In indicting him alone of the top-ranking Serbian and
Yugoslav officials, the chief prosecutor, Carla Del
Ponte, let Milosevic take the rap for his fellow
conspirators, who were let off the hook.
Now Milosevic is dead, none of the guiltiest
Serbian/Yugoslav officials will be tried for war
crimes in Croatia and Bosnia.
To understand why this is so, it is necessary to look
at the command structure of Serbian and Yugoslav
forces during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, and of
the chronology of these wars.
Milosevic was the supreme operator, but he was on
paper merely the president of one of the Yugoslav
republics - Serbia. He was able to wage war in Croatia
and Bosnia only thanks to the collaboration of other
top officials who were in principle of similar rank
and status to himself.
The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) was during 1991 in
the hands of Kadijevic, Adzic, and their deputies
Stane Brovet and Zivota Panic.
Their readiness to fight on Serbia's side -
unconstitutionally, illegally and in defiance of the
Yugoslav presidency and government - enabled Milosevic
to enjoy the illusory military superiority that
enabled him to attack, though not defeat, Croatia.
The JNA was formally under the command of the
collective Yugoslav presidency, which during the war
in Croatia was formally headed by a Croat, Stipe
Mesic. But Kadijevic and Adzic allowed the common army
of all Yugoslavia to become the army solely of Serbia
In October 1991, at the height of the war in Croatia,
the Serbian and Montenegrin members of the presidency
- Jovic and Kostic, as well as two ciphers
representing Vojvodina and Kosovo - carried out a
coup, declaring themselves the acting Yugoslav
presidency and, consequently, the acting supreme
command of the JNA.
They remained in this role until spring 1992 and were
centrally involved in planning the war in Bosnia,
including establishing the Bosnian Serb army and
picking out an initially minor officer, Ratko Mladic,
to lead it.
Waging war in Croatia and planning and preparing war
in Bosnia were the work of this 'joint criminal
enterprise', as mentioned in the Milosevic
indictments, which included these individuals and a
host of lesser figures, including Milosevic's Croatian
Serb and Bosnian Serb puppets and the colourful but
secondary figures of Vojislav Seselj and Zeljko
All surviving members of this enterprise should have
been indicted and, indeed, nearly were.
The present author worked for the ICTY's Office of the
Prosecutor in 2001 and participated in the drafting of
the indictment of Milosevic for war crimes in Bosnia.
The investigative team for which I worked initially
intended to indict the leading figures of the
enterprise, including Kadijevic, Adzic, Jovic and
Kostic, and had begun work on the preliminary draft of
But at mid-point in this process, we received an order
from Del Ponte, indicating she wanted to indict
Milosevic separately. This decision shamefully let the
other top Serbian and Yugoslav war criminals off the
Del Ponte's decision pandered to the Western penchant
for personalizing evil. The simplistic understanding
of the uninformed Westerner, in which Milosevic was
the only known figure, while the others had never been
heard of, made it easier to sell her decision to the
This decision had more to do with politics than
justice: it would appear that Del Ponte found the
resistance to the ICTY of Serbia's post-Milosevic
regime - in which Milosevic-era war criminals and
mafia continued to dominate behind the scenes - too
tough to risk a further round of indictments of top
This had nothing to do with an absence of available
evidence. Kadijevic, Adzic, Jovic, Kostic and others
could all have been indicted on the basis of their
command responsibility for crimes carried out by their
JNA subordinates at Vukovar and Dubrovnik, indictments
for which already existed.
Indeed, while Del Ponte was ready to indict the
Croatian Army's chief of staff, Janko Bobetko, for
crimes carried out by his subordinates at the Medak
Pocket, and to indict the commander of the Bosnian
Army, Rasim Delic, for crimes carried out by mujahedin
fighters in Central Bosnia - in both cases on the
basis of command responsibility - she was unwilling to
indict the top JNA commanders and members of the rump
Yugoslav presidency on the same basis.
She skewed her indictments in favor of the aggressors
who conquered large areas of Croatia and Bosnia, and
at the expense of those defending their countries from
Relative to its share of war crimes, the ICTY has
treated Serbia extremely leniently.
The Croatian and Bosnian publics were expected to be
satisfied with the indictment of a single top-ranking
Serbian or Yugoslav official - Milosevic. Now that he
has escaped justice, they must be satisfied only with
a handful of indictees of secondary or lower
The most important of these is probably Jovica
Stanisic, who headed Serbia's State Security Service,
but although his role in organizing the bloodshed was
central, he was very much a Milosevic subordinate.
Franko Simatovic, who headed Milosevic's special
forces was another creature and subordinate of
A third Serbian indictee, Momcilo Perisic, became
Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army only
in 1993, after the period of direct Serbian aggression
had already ended, having been merely a corps
commander during the JNA attack on Bosnia.
A fourth Serbian indictee, Vojislav Seselj, was a
flamboyant ultra-nationalist loudmouth whose actual
significance in the planning and execution of the wars
Of lesser rank still are General Pavle Strugar,
Admiral Miodrag Jokic and battalion commander Vladimir
Kovacevic, who received very lenient sentences for war
crimes at Dubrovnik, and the three JNA officers
currently on trial for crimes at Vukovar.
Finally, there are the numerous Bosnian and Croatian
Serb indictees, who apparently comprised an easier
target for the chief prosecutor, as they were men and
women of Bosnia and Croatia, not of Serbia or
Montenegro; collaborators rather than aggressors. For
all the huge sums invested in the ICTY, these are
pitiful results. The Croatian and Bosnian publics have
every right to know the bald fact: they have not
Marko Attila Hoare is a Senior Research Fellow at the
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Kingston
University. He is the author of a short history of the
Bosnian Army (How Bosnia Armed, Saqi Books, London,