The nuggets keep piling up as the
This applies fully to President Obama, who bragged to AIPAC that, “Because we understand the challenges
Similarly, it is striking to see how the rule of law has been rendered so clearly inoperative in other matters supposedly bearing on “national security.” It is notable how readily and completely a leader like Obama, an expert on constitutional law, and one who had so explicitly committed himself to return us to that promised land, has followed in its abandonment in what Tom Engelhardt aptly calls a “post-legal” state (“Are We Living in Post-Legal America?,” TomDispatch.com, May 30, 2011).
This is across the board: no prosecutions for authorizing or carrying out torture; for illegal spying on
The war against
Mladic and Impunity
It is a bit mind-boggling to see Human Rights Watch, Richard Goldstone, Ban Ki-moon, and a stream of pundits and officials claim that the arrest of Ratko Mladic shows that the world has conquered “impunity.” This was also supposedly proved by the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) issuance of indictments and then arrest warrants for Gaddafi and one of his sons and his brother-in-law. Kofi Annan had already announced years ago that, with the creation of the ICC, impunity was at an end. Here we can see its Kafka-esque truth as officers and leaders of tiny states on the
In March 2003 George Bush and Tony Blair invaded
The relatively fewer killings by Gaddafi in response to a rapidly growing and, at least, partly foreign-sponsored armed insurgency were willful and demanded a rush-to-action. No white person has ever been indicted by the ICC under this new anti-impunity regime—and, of the 20 persons who had been indicted through mid-2011, all were African, the three Libyans being the only non-black Africans. By another amazing coincidence, two of the greatest black African killers, Paul Kagame (
When Milosevic was first indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in May 1999, he was accused of responsibility for some 340 victims, only 45 of whom died in the months prior to NATO’s bombing war (from March 24 on) in the almost surely mythical “Racak massacre” of January 15, 1999 (see “Mythical Bloodbaths” in Herman and Peterson, The Politics of Genocide, 2010). But in considering a petition that NATO leaders be indicted for killing civilians in its 1999 bombing war, this was ruled out by Carla Del Ponte on the grounds that (1) these killings were not deliberate and (2) with only 500 admittedly killed by NATO, this was too few to constitute crimes of war. For Milosevic the “threshold of gravity” was 340 deaths, for NATO, 500 was too small (see Michael Mandel, How America Gets Away With Murder, 2004). In short, these cases had nothing to do with justice but reflected the same dichotomy of impunity for the de facto aggressor violating the UN Charter, on the one hand, and sure guilt for the great power’s target by that power’s corrupt agent, the ICTY, on the other hand (see John Laughland’s Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milo- sevic and the Corruption of International Justice, 2007).
When the arrest of Ratko Mladic in the Serbian
In a civil war there are always nasty episodes of ruthless killings, and the multi-sidedness of this in the Balkan wars was briefly revealed in Washington Post and Toronto Star profiles of the Muslim commander of Srebrencia, Naser Oric, who openly bragged to John Pomfret and Bill Schiller of an episode in which he killed 114 Serbs, showing these reporters videos of beheaded victims. The Serb analyst Milivoje Ivanisevic listed the names of 3,262 Serbs killed in the Srebrenica vicinity prior to the July 1995 “massacre,” a large majority civilians (2,382). These have been “disappeared” in the discussions of Srebrenica, helping make the July killings inexplicable except for some ethnic cleansing or even genocidal plan.
There is nothing comparable to Oric’s admissions to Pomfret and Schiller in any evidence ever used to implicate Mladic. His initial Srebrenica-related indictment for “genocide” by the ICTY in November 1995 preceded their gathering of any evidence on Srebrenica (not even a single grave was investigated until 1996) and when the ICTY forensic analysts finished their collection and evaluation of grave evidence in 2002, the manner of death in the vast majority of the 1,919 sets of mortal remains exhumed up to that point was unclear, but the majority of the relative small number of remains whose manner of death could be determined (477 sets, or 24.8 percent) were likely combat victims rather than victims of executions. (See the two chapters that Ljubisa Simic contributed to the volume edited by Stefan Karganovic, Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide,
The main “evidence” of any Mladic role in Srebrenica executions was given in the testimony of Drazen Erdemovic, a mercenary and truly “protected witness” of the ICTY, whose performance (and ICTY protection—against verification) is actually a high point in showing the thoroughgoing politicization of the ICTY and hence of the compromised case against Mladic (see the devastating account in Germinal Civikov’s Srebrenica: The Star Witness).
Edward S. Herman is an economist, media critic, and author of numerous articles and books. His latest is The Politics of Genocide (with David Peterson).