The absurdly light or no prison terms handed out to the three most responsible for the Vukovar massacres and torture are not consistent with the crimes. It was not a lack of evidence but a devaluation of the crimes, or more accurately, the lives of the victims and all of us.
Vukovar is the Croatian sacred ground. Injustice in war has been consistent with injustice in peace. To be so blunt and arrogant and not to punish human monsters who shelled Vukovar for three months and then massacred innocent people, including women, children and patience in the hospital is not just an insult to anybody's intelligence, but true attempt to subordination of the whole nation.
Vukovar is the Croatian sacred ground. What is the responsibility of the prosecution? Do they think, for whomever they work, that they will just walk away and continue climbing their political careers? Prosecutors should be held responsible for those wrongly accused and for those who are wrong and not being accused. It is a radical thought, but I think that they should serve the sentence that they missed. There will be less court cases and sentences would be delivered according to justice, not according to an interpretation of the law.
Vukovar is the Croatian sacred ground. Few days ago we celebrated Peter Tomich a brave Croatian American who died on December 7th 1941 on the ship Utah. President Mesic honored Admiral J. Robert Lunney for fighting a bureaucracy (more about it in the next couple of days on CROWN). Croatians fought loyally for every country that accepted them as an equal citizens. Chief Water tender Tomich was recognized for his heroic actions on the USS Utah by President Roosevelt who awarded the deeds of Tomich with a Medal of Honor. You tell me, are our Croatian heroes who fought for Vukovar less appreciated or even less valued? If Vukovar was in France, England, Russia or USA, these legal rapes would never happen. Croatia must start using it's five to ten million diplomats around the world.
Vukovar is the Croatian sacred ground and somebody just pissed on it. Whoever is behind this crime after crimes, is only temporary in power. Sooner or later all corrupted powers collapse. Words of Jesus Christ still resonate two thousand years later, because they carry the message of eternal truth.
Vukovar is the Croatian sacred ground and somebody just pissed on it. Croatia should think hard and hit hard.
Nenad N. Bach
New York, Sept 30th 2007
The absurdly light or no prison terms handed out to the three most responsible for the Vukovar massacres and torture are not consistent with the crimes that the same court had ruled had actually occurred. It was not a lack of evidence but a devaluation of the crimes, or more accurately, the lives of the victims and all of us. I would hope no one in Serbia considers this a victory because this judgment is also a discount on the price of the lives of all people living in the "Balkans."
Florence Hartmann's book and the previous revelations of Sylvie Matton and (Ambassador Sacirbey) regarding the deals that were being made between leaders of the Euro-Atlantic powers, on one side, and Milosevic, Mladic and Karadzic, on the other, indicate an overall lower value placed on the people from the region and the application of shared human values. The same western powers would have never allowed such a devaluation of their own citizens. The Vukovar judgment only follows this precedent.
The western democratic officials responsible for dealing with the devil have implicitly justified these betrayals by racist stereotyping or historical revisionism. Some have tried to convince us that these wars and crimes were an exclusively "Balkan" flaw. We have too often implicitly reinforced that argument by focusing our arguments on historic grievances to attempt to paint our "neighbor" rather than aspiring to a future based on the highest principles of western civilization and the rule of law. The murders at Vukovar were committed by Serbian military and ostensibly on behalf of a Greater Serbia, but the harm also comes from those who devalue the crimes and lives of the victims.
Unfortunately, we are projected as a deep discount region where everything is for sale, including human lives. Western leaders feel free to shop our lives, futures, values as being deeply discounted. They will never admit the underhanded deals with Milosevic, Mladic, Karadzic, but even if discovered, will try to convince our and their public that we really did not deserve better.
To change this attitude, it's part cosmetic. We're not the Balkans but "Southeast Europe." However, we will not get the fair price for our lives and future until we demand accountability. Especially those of us from the region living in the United States, Europe, the Americas must demand that our leaders investigate any overt or implicit actions by the representatives of our governments to discount the lives and future of the countries and region where we come from.
For those of us living in the United States, I would urge all to write letters to their Congressional Representatives and Senators, as outlined in the attached draft.
September 23, 2007
The Honorable Vito Fossella,
13th Congressional District, New York
Dear Congressman Fossella,
The United States Congress has adopted an unambiguous position that all indicted alleged war criminals must be delivered to justice. The Congress has also called upon all states including those in the region, as well as the United States, to fully cooperate with and facilitate in the delivery to the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, (ICTY), of such indicted persons, in particular Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, responsible for the worst "genocide" and crimes against humanity committed in Europe since the depths of the Holocaust. The Congress correctly provided the proper lead/example by condemning the genocide of Srebrenica and in Bosnia & Herzegovina as a whole, as well as demanding the apprehension of and trial for the responsible.
However, there is growing, independent credible evidence that certain officials possibly acting under United States Executive authority have ignored such Congressional directives or even violated domestic and/or international law. The witnesses include at least one former high official of the Prosecutor's Office of the International War Crimes for the former Yugoslavia, former Foreign Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina , numerous other officials from the region and independent international media. The evidence points to one or more of the following:
1. Officials purportedly acting under US Executive authority provided assurances of non-arrest to indicted persons;
2. Officials purportedly acting under US Executive authority encouraged and/or facilitated the relocation of indicted persons beyond the arrest capacity of Bosnia & Herzegovina;
3. Officials and/or forces shielded from or alerted indicted persons as to arrest efforts;
4. It is also beyond doubt now that such wanted persons, after already having been indicted by the ICTY, were afforded knowing and free passage through NATO/US check points.
We would request a hearing before the appropriate Congressional Committees to evaluate the evidence and testimony of such allegations and to question appropriate witnesses/officials about the matter under oath. The potential evidence and witness list is cumulative, but could include: Carla Del Ponte ICTY Chief Prosecutor, Sir. Geoffrey Nice, Chief Prosecutor on the Milosevic case, Florence Hartmann, Key Assistant and Spokesperson for the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey, former Foreign Minister of as well as Representative of BiH to the ICTY and ICJ, (a US citizen), Sylvie Matton, investigative author and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
The need for such Congressional more comprehensive hearing is necessary to establish that officials purportedly acting under the authority of the United States are in compliance with US laws and Congressional directives. It is also important for a region still struggling to apply the "rule of law" to its political and legal processes. The US Congress is the ultimate custodian of democratic practices, open society and the rule of law. We must send a clear example by transparency as well as adherence rather than rhetoric or hypocrisy.
Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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