Archive for Serbia

Ratko Mladic on Trial For Genocide that Islamophobes Love to Deny

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by loonwatch

Suffice to say many Islamophobes deny the Genocide against Bosnian Muslims, chief amongst them are Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.

Ratko Mladic goes on trial for genocide

(AlJazeera English)

The trial of General Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb army chief accused of orchestrating war crimes and a campaign of genocide, has begun at a special UN court at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia made their opening statements against Mladic on Wednesday almost a year after his arrest in Serbia and subsequent deportation after years on the run.

Mladic is accused of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including orchestrating the week-long massacre of over 7,000 Muslim boys and men at Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian war.

Prosecutor Dermot Groome said the prosecution would present evidence showing “beyond a reasonable doubt the hand of Mr. Mladic in each of these crimes”.

“The world watched in disbelief that in neighborhoods and villages within Europe a genocide appeared to be in progress,” said Groome, describing the beginning of the war in 1992.

“By the time Mladic and his troops murdered thousands in Srebrenica … they were well-rehearsed in the craft of murder,” Groome told the court.

Older but defiant

Dressed in a dark grey suit and dark tie, Mladic, now 70, flashed a thumbs-up and clapped his hands as he entered the courtroom in The Hague.

In the packed public seating area, a mother of one of the Srebrenica victims whispered “vulture” several times as prosecutors opened their case.

Later, Mladic made eye contact with one of the Muslim women in the audience, running a hand across his throat, in a gesture that led Presiding judge Alphons Orie to hold a brief recess and order an end to “inappropriate interactions.”

“Ratko Mladic is clearly not the stocky, physically imposing, bullish man that we remember from images of the early ’90s,” Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips reported from The Hague.

Phillips added, however, that even with his age, the general remained as defiant as ever.

“You could really sense his contempt for this court, which he calls the ‘NATO’ court,” he said.

Axel Hagedorn, a lawyer for many of the mothers of those killed in Srebrenica, said that many of his clients had travelled to The Hague, where they were relieved to finally see Mladic stand trial.

“I think he looks much more healthy than last year, when he appeared, that is good for us, because we hope that he can survive this trial and face imprisonment,” he said.

The Mladic trial would also help build a separate case by the Srebrenica families against the United Nations, he said.

In April, the Dutch Supreme Courht ruled that the UN could not be prosecuted in the Netherlands for failing to prevent genocide in Srebrenica, but the families’ lawyers plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

“This case is very linked to our case, on the failure of the United Nations to protect the people of Srebrenica,” Hagedorn said.

There are concerns that Mladic’s trial could be disrupted by the defendant’s poor health. He is believed to have suffered at least one stroke while in hiding and was admitted to hospital for pneumonia last October.

Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader, died of a heart attack in detention in 2006 before a verdict in his trial could be reached.

‘Biggest butcher’

Outside, protesters held up placards including one that said “we want justice for the victims of Srebrenica”.

Mladic, who was arrested in a village in northern Serbia last May, is also charged over the 44-month siege of Sarajevo during which more than 10,000 people died.

Mladic has refused to enter a plea and rejected the charges against him as “monstrous” and “obnoxious” in a preliminary hearing last June. He says he was defending his country and his people as leader of the Bosnian Serb army. The court entered a ‘not guilty’ plea on his behalf.

He is the last of the main protagonists involved in the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia to go on trial in front of the special court established by the United Nations to prosecute crimes committed during the conflicts.

“This is the biggest butcher of the Balkans and the world,” Munira Subasic, 65, told the AFP news agency. She lost 22 relatives to Bosnian Serb military forces when Srebrenica was overrun in July 1995.

“I’ll look into his eyes and ask him if he repents,” said Subasic, who said she would watch the trial’s opening from the public gallery at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The case has stirred up deep emotions in the Balkans and Wednesday’s proceedings were broadcast live on big screens in Sarajevo, where thousands died between 1992 and 1995.

“I hope that many of those who are disillusioned and believe that Mladic is a Serb hero will change their minds, and that the trial will demonstrate that he was just a criminal and a coward,” Fikret Grabovica, president of the association of parents and children killed in the siege of Sarajevo, said.

“Even if Mladic lives until the verdict, it will bring only mild satisfaction for the victims of Srebrenica and hundreds of other places in the Serb Republic,” Grabovica added, referring to the entity that rules Serb majority areas of Bosnia.

‘Not satisfied’

Since the end of the war, Bosnia-Herzegovina has been divided into a federation of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, and the Serb Republic.

Mladic’s lawyers last week attempted to have the trial pushed back as the court pondered their request to have presiding judge Alphons Orie removed from the bench. They had argued that Orie would be biased against Mladic because he had already condemned several of his former subordinates.

But Theodor Meron, the president of the court, denied the request.

“I am not satisfied that Mladic has demonstrated that a reasonable observer … would reasonably apprehend bias. I accordingly find Mladic’s request for Judge Orie’s disqualification to be unmeritorious,” he said in a statement.

Mladic is being held in the same prison as his former political leader Radovan Karadzic, who was arrested in 2008 and is now about halfway through his trial on similar charges to Mladic.

Mladic’s lawyers  Monday night filed another request to have the trial adjourned for six months, saying they had not had enough time to prepare, due to “errors” by the prosecution in disclosing documents.

Groome said on Wednesday he would not oppose a “reasonable adjournment”.

Srebrenica Anniversary: One Mother’s Catharsis As Son’s Bones Are Identified

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by loonwatch

Srebrenica Anniversary: One Mother’s Catharsis As Son’s Bones Are Identified

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Three bones make Kada Hotic feel like a winner. It may not sound like much after nearly two decades of anguish, but to her they mean everything.

Two pelvic bones and a fragment of the lower jaw are what remain of Hotic’s son Samir, who was killed by Serb forces in the killing fields of Srebrenica. They were dug up this year and identified – and now he will have a proper funeral along with 612 other newly identified massacre victims.

“They said I should not be looking for more,” she said of the remains. “In a way I am happy, if this can be called happiness. But the alternative is not finding anything and that would have been worse.”

There’s something else that makes Hotic happy.

She came face to face last month with the man she blames for Samir’s death: former Serb general Ratko Mladic, who was captured in May and is standing trial in The Hague, Netherlands on charges of masterminding Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

Last month, her eyes met Mladic’s through the glass barrier that divided the courtroom from the audience chamber. She pointed at him, then at herself, slowly dragged a finger across her throat – and waved it Mladic.

“You killed my only son,” she said the gestures meant. “Now you will pay for it.”

Srebrenica – with its majority Muslim population – was a U.N.-protected area, besieged by Serb forces throughout the 1992-95 war for Serb domination in Bosnia.

But U.N. troops there offered no resistance when the Serbs overran the town on July 11, 1995. There, Serbs proceeded to round up Srebrenica’s Muslims and killed more than 8,000 men and boys – the climax to the 1992-95 Bosnian war that claimed 100,000 lives. An international court later labeled the killings a genocide.

Hotic lost 29-year-old Samir, her husband Sead, two brothers, and many men in her wider family.

The killers plowed the bodies into hastily dug mass graves, which they later reopened to move the bodies to other sites in an attempt to hide the crime. They worked with bulldozers that ripped bodies apart.

Forensic experts have been painstakingly assembling complete skeletons and checking each bone against the DNA from survivors’ blood samples.

Most of the time, however, families don’t get anything near a full set of bones. They just bury body parts so they have a grave to visit at the Potocari memorial center near Srebrenica, built across the former U.N. base where Bosnian Muslims had sought shelter.

Hotic sat there paralyzed with fear 16 years ago, listening to the general issuing orders as U.N. peacekeepers stood idly by.

“He told them ‘my Serb brothers, you have green light, use this opportunity, one like this will not be offered to you again,” she remembers. Then she watched soldiers separating men from women – and taking the men away, it turned out, for execution.

The memorial was built in 2003 at the site where she last saw her son and husband. That year, Hotic buried her husband, whose remains had already been found.

Through the years, Hotic has found special ways to keeping her son alive. Samir was a smoker and blew rings “you could push a stick through.”

After Srebrenica, she took up smoking and practicing smoke rings.

“If I would manage to make one, I imagined it was his.”

Since 2003, she has been going to Potocari every year for the mass funerals, in which almost 4,000 victims have been laid to rest. As of Monday, one of the gravestones will read Samir Hotic.

And with closure near, she has quit smoking.

“The waiting was not in vain,” she said. “I may be a victim, I lost my loved ones but I am the winner.”

Mlevludin Oric, Bosnian Muslim Soldier, Discusses Surviving Mladic’s Killing Fields

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by loonwatch

(Via IslamophobiaToday)

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The hardest part was the ants. They crawled over his arms and legs, over his face and into his mouth, hour by hour as he pretended to be dead in a pile of corpses slowly turning stiff.

Mevludin Oric lay for nine hours in one of the Srebrenica killing fields where Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic’s troops executed 8,000 Muslim men and boys in July 1995. He escaped in the dead of night, after the soldiers had satisfied themselves that everyone in the sea of bodies was dead.

On Thursday, Oric returned for the first time to the execution ground – a pretty V-shaped meadow surrounded by a forest – with Associated Press journalists to share his feelings about the capture of the man who orchestrated Europe’s worst carnage since World War II.

He brought his eldest daughter, 17-year-old Merima. He wanted her to know what happened here – he wants everyone to know, vowing to testify against Mladic at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands.

“I can’t wait to look into the eyes of that animal,” said the lanky 42-year-old, his eyes lighting up after a morning spent on the verge of tears.

Serbia extradited Mladic to the Netherlands on Tuesday to face genocide charges; he was arrested last week in a village north of Belgrade after 16 years on the run.

Oric, a Bosnian Muslim soldier captured by Serbs as he fled through the woods, is one of four men known to have survived the Srebrenica massacre. All endured the unspeakable ordeal of playing dead while Serb troops patrolled the blood-soaked field, finishing off anybody who showed signs of life with a pistol shot to the head.

Ants bit Oric as they prowled his body, but he didn’t dare move. Nearby, an old man begged for his life: “Children, we didn’t do anything. Don’t do this to us.” He, too, was shot.

On top of Oric was his dead cousin Hars. In the execution line, Hars took Oric’s hand and whispered: “They’ll kill us all.” When the gunfire erupted, Oric threw himself to the ground, as Hars fell over him, groaning in agony.

At one point, Oric saw a Serb soldier walk in his direction. The soldier paused to shoot a man in the head, then continued walking toward Oric. It’s my turn, he thought.

“I closed my eyes,” Oric said, looking at Merima, “and I thought about you and your mother. And for a few seconds before the expected shot, I wondered what it is like in heaven, or in hell.”

The shot never came. But it would be hours more before Oric would be free.

As he toured the meadow Thursday, Oric deciphered its grim geography: “This is where I lay… This is where the pit was…”

“This here is soaked with blood,” he said. “I should have been here. But destiny…” His voice trailed off.

“I would like to cry,” said the construction worker, who lives with his mother and three daughters in central Bosnia. “But there’s something in my throat that doesn’t allow me to cry.”

Close to midnight, the shooting stopped and the Serbs left. Oric’s arms and legs were numb, but he managed to shake off his cousin’s body and stand up. Moonlight shone over the field of bodies; he saw a shadow approach.

“It was the shadow of a man like a ghost” he said. “First I thought it was a soldier left to stand guard.”

But it was Hurem Suljic, a Bosnian Muslim bricklayer with a bum leg who had also survived. Suljic got closer and asked, “Are you wounded?” Oric said no.

Looking around, they saw others still alive but destined to die from rifle wounds. One man had a gash in his side exposing his kidney. “Can you give me a jacket?” he pleaded, “I’m cold.” Oric took a jacket from a dead man and gave it to him.

Oric saw another man crawling on his arms, dragging behind his bullet-riddled legs. “Run, brother,” the man said. “Don’t mind me. I won’t make it.”

Oric and Suljic stepped over corpses and headed into the forest. The journey was hard because of Suljic’s bad leg. At times, Oric said, he had to carry the older man on his back. Four days later, they crossed a mine field at the front line and were met by Bosnian soldiers.

Before the trip back to Srebrenica, Oric took Merima to the school gymnasium where he and hundreds of other Bosnian Muslim captives had been held by Serb forces before the massacre.

Oric said Mladic was there too on that day, inspecting the prisoners minutes before they were loaded onto trucks and driven to the execution ground. Suljic has given similar testimony.

In the school gym, the Muslim men were told they would be part of a prisoner swap. But the men had doubts because they heard gunfire all around.

As Oric and his daughter toured the grounds, people in surrounding houses in the Serb-dominated area called out.

“Let Mladic go!” they yelled.

John Feffer: Mladic v. Bin Laden: A Tale of Two Raids

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2011 by loonwatch

 

Both were responsible for thousands of civilian deaths, one was killed and the other was brought to the international court.

 

Mladic v. Bin Laden: A Tale of Two Raids

 

by John Feffer (Huffington Post)

 

They were both responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in causes they believed were righteous. They both occupied top spots on the World’s Most Wanted list. They were both the subject of raids that were years in the making and required extensive intelligence work.

 

But in all other respects — and particularly in the messages they sent to the international community — the operations against Ratko Mladic and Osama bin Laden couldn’t have been more different. It wasn’t a foreign power, but the Serbian police that conducted the pre-dawn raid to capture the former Bosnian Serb military general who was responsible for the shelling of Sarajevo and the massacres in Srebrenica. Rather than kill Mladic, the police took him into custody. And instead of dealing with the perpetrator domestically, the Serbian government has announced that it will send him to The Hague to be tried for war crimes — 16 years after his indictment was handed down.

 

Hollywood is already preparing a movie on the search for bin Laden that will dramatize the targeted assassination of the al Qaeda leader, and thereby amplify the message that this was a just and worthy enterprise. The capture of Mladic was, by contrast, anti-dramatic. A team of special police showed up in the northern Serbian town of Lazarevo and confronted the old man as he was about to go for a pre-dawn walk. He handed over his two guns and gave up without a struggle.

 

Mladic and bin Laden were responsible for a comparable number of deaths. But Mladic didn’t kill any Americans. So nabbing the war criminal was not a top White House priority, though the CIA spent years tracking the man around former Yugoslavia. Instead it was left to Serbia to choose how diligently to pursue Mladic. Until 2000 and the ouster of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, the war criminal lived more or less in the open, protected by supporters in high places. It took a while, but eventually those who favor the rule of law gained the upper hand in Belgrade.

 

The timing of the arrest was perhaps a little too perfect. The European Union had been pressing Serbia to clear away this major obstacle to EU membership, with the head of EU foreign policy Catherine Ashton in Belgrade the very day of the arrest. And the ruling party of Boris Tadic was looking at an uphill battle in the 2012 elections.

 

Regardless of the motivations and the outside pressures, the Serbian government opted to do the right thing. And as Merdijana Sadovic writes at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, the arrest was an opportunity for the Serbian media to take a long hard look at the past: “RTS television showed several documentaries about the crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995, the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo, and reels of archive footage showing Mladic as an unpredictable and arrogant commander displaying no respect for the UN troops deployed in Bosnia, no empathy for civilians, and no mercy for his enemies.”

 

The backlash within Serbia has been comparatively muted. On Sunday, several thousand hardcore nationalists, including soccer thugs and neo-Nazis, rallied in Belgrade, but these numbers pale in comparison to earlier demonstrations of ultra-nationalist fervor. Still, polls from before Mladic’s arrest suggest that opinion was roughly divided between those who approved his arrest (34 percent) and those who regarded him as a hero (40 percent). Tadic was taking a certain political risk by nabbing this half-hero.

 

Ultra-nationalist Serbs are not the only ones who have rallied behind Mladic. That great Islamophobe Pamela Geller, the force behind the protests around the Park 51 Islamic Center in lower Manhattan, has been trying to rally support for Mladic and his other Serbian colleagues charged with war crimes. “The crime they are all morally charged with — above and beyond anything legal or technical — is daring to fight back when Muslims attacked,” she recently wrote. There were, of course, atrocities committed by Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has indicted several of them. But the aggressors were the Bosnian Serbs, backed by the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic. Geller is not just wrong, but wrong at the level of Holocaust denial.

 

It was once commonplace for the right wing to accuse the left of implacable naiveté, of willful ignorance of evil. A utopian belief in the perfectibility of humanity suggested to right-wing critics, particularly those coming out of the Christian tradition, that the left and its attempt to remake society failed to acknowledge the fallen nature of mankind. Such utopianism followed a direct line from the guillotine to the gulag to Pol Pot’s attempt to turn Cambodia back to Year Zero.

 

But the right’s belief in the imperfectability of humanity led to similarly disastrous consequences, from carpet bombing to blindness in the face of genocide. During the unraveling of Yugoslavia, for instance, Secretary of State James Baker justified the U.S. non-response with his famous phrase, “We don’t have a dog in that fight.” We simply stood back and watched evil play itself out.

 

But perhaps the most insidious U.S. response to evil has been the superhero approach. The world’s lone superpower, like Spiderman or Superman, would go after the world’s bad guys and simply do away with them. Washington targeted rogue leaders (Saddam Hussein), rogue states (North Korea), and just plain rogues (Osama bin Laden). We would cooperate with the international community when we could and, in Bill Clinton’s definition of a la carte multilateralism, act alone “if we must.” This doctrine of superhero-ism is utopian in its own way for its faith in the crusader’s ability to singlehandedly rid the world of bad guys.

 

Barack Obama has operated firmly in this tradition, most saliently in the targeted assassination of Osama bin Laden. Indeed, as Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) columnist Conn Hallinan points out, the bin Laden operation has formalized a whole new approach that dispenses with the notion of sovereignty and emphasizes the role of secrecy. “What would be the reaction if Cuban armed forces had landed in Florida and assassinated Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch, two anti-Castro militants who were credibly charged with setting bombs in Havana and downing a Cuban airliner?” he writes in The New Face of War. “Washington would treat it as an act of war.” In the comic-book world, only the superhero/superpower can break the rules on behalf of the greater good.

 

The apprehending of Ratko Mladic offers a different model of behavior. The Serbs ultimately did the job themselves in adherence to international standards of justice. They did so despite considerable public support for Mladic, misgivings about the balance of the ICTY, and frustration over the EU’s carrot-and-stick tactics. Imagine how different the situation in South Asia might have been if Pakistan, through a combination of inside determination and outside pressure, had apprehended Osama bin Laden and sent him to The Hague. It might have taken a few more years to orchestrate. But the benefits would have been enormous.

 

It is not naïve to prefer justice meted out by the rule of law versus justice meted out by the rule of superheroes. In a very pragmatic way, Serbia’s action strengthened respect for legal practices. Witness theupsurge in support for the Serbian policeman who used not a truncheon against a would-be ultranationalist arsonist at Sunday’s protest but simply the words, “So, you came here to demolish my Belgrade?” The peaceful arrest of Mladic, which signaled that Serbia is ready to become embedded in the web of rules and regulations of the EU, was a rite of passage. In contrast, the United States got its man, but demonstrated that it still hasn’t grown out of its comic-book phase.

 

Evil rarely comes in arch-villainous packages like The Joker. Evil is systemic, pervasive, and yes, part and parcel of modern U.S. policy from Hiroshima to Iraq. After another Memorial Day of mourning our dead, we should reflect on the Serbian path. It was not easy for Serbs to confront their own bloody history, grapple with their own legitimate grievances, and address the problem of evil in the form of Ratko Mladic. But this arrest helps move us closer to that legitimately utopian project of a world without war than the successful but deeply troubling operation against Osama bin Laden.

 

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Pamela Geller Watch: Serbian War Criminal Mladic Caught – Pamela Geller Inconsolable

Posted in Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2011 by loonwatch

How do we know that Geller wants Muslims dead? She grieves when genocidal war criminals are caught.

Serbian War Criminal Mladic Caught – Pamela Geller Inconsolable

by Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs)

War criminal Ratko Mladic was arrested yesterday in Serbia, where he was hiding from justice under an assumed name. Time’s Mark Benjamin has this excerpt from Mladic’s indictment, with horrifying details of his massacre of thousands of Muslim prisoners.

Between 12 July and about 20 July 1995, thousands of Bosnian Muslim men were captured by, or surrendered to, Bosnian Serb Forces under the command and control of General Ratko MLADIC. Over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim prisoners captured in the area around Srebrenica were summarily executed from 13 July to 19 July 1995. Killings continued thereafter. From about 1 August 1995 through about 1 November 1995, VRS units under the command and control of General Ratko MLADIC participated in an organised and comprehensive effort to conceal the killings and executions of the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica by reburying, in isolated locations, bodies exhumed from mass graves.

“The Serbs dared to fight.”It’s important to note that one of the most relentless whitewashers of Mladic’s monstrous crimes is none other than anti-Muslim lunatic Pamela Geller, and the reason is obvious: Mladic slaughtered Muslims, and that makes him an ally of Geller, Robert Spencer, and the rest of their thuggish crowd.

In her usual weasely fashion, Geller tries to have it both ways; she cheers on Mladic for “daring to fight,” but at the same time posts numerous articles at her website denying the genocide at Srebrenica as “a lie.” For example:

CANADIAN PM STEVEN HARPER, LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD, VETOES BOSNIAN LIE RESOLUTION
ISLAMIC BOSNIA: “IT BEGAN WITH A LIE”

It’s easy to make fun of Pamela Geller, because she’s so completely deranged. But there’s absolutely nothing funny about her support for war criminals and mass murderers, or her denial of genocide.

And she continues to defend this butcher, even today: JULIA GORIN: “ROASTING MLADIC”.

Instead of admitting their terrible mistake, the dhimmi Western powers are digging in their heels and further prosecuting the Serbs in their sisyphean and thankless efforts to stop Islamic imperialism.

Look, there are no heroes in the Bosnian conflict, but the Muslim atrocities were far worse. The Serbs dared to fight. That’s what this is all about. As Gorin so succinctly put it, “They are guilty of ….. daring to answer war with war.” The question is, why would the Western powers send in troops and pave the way for a militant Islamic state in the heart of Europe? The catastrophic consequences have not yet manifested themselves, but they will impact the geopolitical landscape in what promises to be a bloody 21st century.

Just disgusting.