Canadian Parliament Adopts Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

Response to Smear Campaign Against the Institute

ACTION ALERT: Call for a Removal of ICTY Judge Flügge from Mladic's Trial

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada

“A Miscarriage of Justice”

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: June 6, 2010  

Sanja Seferovic Drnovsek, Director of the Bosnian-American Genocide Institute and Education Center, presents the book “Peace and Punishment” by Florence Hartman, St. Louis , Missouri, at the bookstore “Novella” on May 30, 2010, organized by the Congress of North American Bosniaks.

Florence Hartman was a journalist, and had been covering the Balkans since 1987, writing for the French daily “Le Monde”, from Belgrade, before taking her role at the International Tribunal established for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2000. As a witness of the totalitarian regime of Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Serbia, when and where the seeds were planted and grew the roots of genocidal policy enforced against Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1992-1995, she wrote a book about that time “Milosevic, la diagonal du fou”. This book brought me back to 1988, when I worked in Belgrade, as I witnessed the same occurrences as had Florence Hartman.

After reading “Peace and Punishments” the sensation of “miscarriage of justice” overwhelmed me. Florence Hartman uses this term to describe the decision made by the Appeals Chamber of the United Nations Judicial body in 2006. This decision, was to forego a remedy for the error of the 3 judges of the International Tribune of Serbia in 2003 that made a secret agreement with Belgrade requesting protective measures for all the documents establishing that the Serbian State had authority over its partners in crime in Bosnia, protecting Serbia from genocide conviction, in which 5 judges of the International Court presided by Italian Fausto Polar confirmed the previous decision. Effectively making them willing partners in the manipulation organized by the government in Belgrade. They found new evidence that the decision from 2003 was “wrong as a matter of law”, understanding that Belgrade was not attempting to protect its “national security” but instead to obstruct justice and its search for the truth. These events allowed information directly implicating the Serbian State in the war in Bosnia and the Srebrenica genocide to remain inaccessible to the ICJ and the public.

The establishment of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the international body of the United Nation, had good intentions to bring Slobodan Milosevic, a war criminal, to justice, but from the beginning with abnormalities. Arbour Louise, a Canadian judge, accused Slobodan Milosevic for the war crime in Kosovo, not including his role in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Carla Ponte was enthusiastic to expand charges against Milosevic to Bosnia and Croatia even though she had to deal with difficulties.

These incomplete accusations of Milosevic in the role in the war in the Former Yugoslavia criticized Cherif Bassiouni, a well known professor of International law who was the main person investigating the evidence of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His committee was dismantled in 1994 when he was near confirming the evidence of direct connection between Slobodan Milosevic and the crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was supposed to be part of his team that was planned to go and investigate in Bosnia and Herzegovina and I was unpleasantly shocked when I heard this news.

There were many other obstacles regarding the Bosnian case. Graham Blewitt, who was brought to help judge Goldstone, did not want to “complicate” the Bosnian war and see it as an international conflict but rather a civil war.

In the decision of ICTY from 2003, Richard May, Patrice Robinson and Gon Kwon, accepted Belgrade’s arguments that the disclosure of truth would prevent peace from being restored and that they would affect the state’s international position and ruin the economy of Serbia. They agreed to keep the information secret from the public and to prevent other courts to use it in the case of genocide. In exchange, Serbia would cooperate in some criminal cases pending before the Tribunal. If that evidence was disclosed, Serbia could be proved guilty in a parallel case pending before the International Court of Justice (Bosnia v. Serbia) and the families of the Bosnian victims could seek damages from Serbia.

Both courts of justice saw the transcripts of minutes of the Supreme Defense Council meetings on-site in Belgrade. They were witnesses who participated and could illustrate the chain of command, method of financing and direct participation of special units coming from Serbia, in the campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The umbilical cord between politicians and war criminals, Karadzic, Mladic, Pesic etc, has never been disconnected.

Milosevic died without judgment, and Serbia with the decision from 2007 ICJ, was free of judgment for its involvement in the Srebrenica genocide. This means that Slobodan Milosevic was effectively not guilty of genocide charges. The International courts of Justice took a place of ICTY and both United Nation judicial bodies took the side of the Serbian regime, the deadliest regime in Europe since the Nazis. It would be the first international process against the Prime minister of a state accused of genocide charges. They did not accuse Milosevic because of the Dayton agreement, instead the International Community made a deal with war criminal.

One of the latest examples of injustice from judicial bodies is the case of Florence Hartman, a journalist and former spokesperson for the International Crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia’s Prosecutor office, when she faced a criminal trial before ICTY. She was accused of illegal activities for reasons regarding her talks about the secret agreements between the judges and the Belgrade regime.

“How can judicial decisions be secret,” Florence Hartman said to me. “This is my defense.”

Why? So much unjust on Bosnia’s back?
“Because of this’ Why’, I worked as a journalist and reporter with the court,” said Florence Hartman. “I managed to find out how the regime of one country functions, how judicial mechanisms work, mechanisms for establishing truth and justice.”

Florence Hartman’s book gave much explanation of these phenomena and the functioning of international courts. Judges are not independent of the policy of States from which they come, primarily because of the role of great powers. Judges from England, Italy, Korea, Jamaica, Canada, Australia……? The role of great powers!

After all, despite all the explanations, it remains a big Why?

After my pessimistic thoughts about justice and injustice in the world, and what we can do about that, I realize, that this book and Florence Hartman would be the light that would give me the guidance and direction to search for Justice and never give up, as she never gave up.

Together with Bosniaks and honest people-activists, we must persist in our mission and the mission of the Bosnian-American Genocide institutes and Education center, to seek truth and justice.

“The truth belongs to you and no one can take it from you,” said Hartman at the end of the presentation of her book “Peace and Punishment.”

If we cannot endure the persistent, careful, systematic investigation and presentation of the truth, the seeds of future crimes in Bosnia or elsewhere will again emerge. The world will have an uncertain future.

Sanja Seferovic Drnovsek
Director of the Bosnian-American Genocide Institute and Education Center

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada