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Reaping the cost of compromise

The assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic comes as no real surprise to me.

Serbia is now reaping the cost of failing to follow up the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic with a systematic and ruthless process similar to the ‘de-nazification’ of West Germany that followed World War 2. As the new regime failed to use the opportunity to wipe out (literally) the nationalist/socialist thugs responsible for much of the calamity in the Balkans, these same thugs have retained control over chunks of Serbian society the way they always did… with violence and terror.

Zoran Djindjic will be remembered as a reformer and the man who gave up Slobodan Milosevic to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. However it has been suggested on Samizdata.net before that surrendering Milosevic for trial by foreigners was a serious error. The end of Mussolini at the hands of Italians would have been a far better model for the Serbs to have followed.

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4 comments to Reaping the cost of compromise

  • Too right it was an error, Perry.

    A largeish bunch of Djindjic’s suspected assassins or friends of assassins [such as around fifteen people] should probably be whacked sooner rather than later if peace is to have a chance, I’m afraid.

  • Shaun Bourke

    Perry…..the phrase,I beleive,you are hunting for is “pre-emptive strike”.

  • Kelli

    I agree entirely. The question must now be posed: will the ICC become a permanent and transnational impediment to intrastate reform and democratization? I think we can all guess the answer.

    As an historian (and not a lawyer) I have always been deeply disturbed by the argument that the Nuremberg trials should be made a model for international war crimes. What would Rwandans have chosen for themselves: an effective military response to genocide on their soil, or a bunch of foreign lawyers and jurists putting a few of the murderers behind bars years later?

    At least the ad hoc war crimes tribunals had the advantage of being “temporary”, though hardly swift. Now that the ICC is open every day for business the expansion of what constitutes a war criminal will proceed apace. No wonder the US wants nothing to with this Euro-inspired lawyer make work scheme.

  • François Guillaumat

    To argue that Serbia should have been de-nazified the way Germany was is to say that it should be under military occupation. It should indeed, but to imply that the Serbs could have tried him for his crimes outside Serbia (and that also means Kosovo, which has been legally independent since October 1991) is to ignore that most Serbs do not and will recognize his responsibility for those crimes.

    The real problems with the ICTY is that

    — it allows Milosevic to mouth propaganda under the pretense of conducting cross-examinations;

    — given that its very existence negates the national sovereignty of the countries involved, it should have been competent only for the crimes committed by the aggressors : the Serbs in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, and the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.