must do my job, otherwise I am not independent, and the
independence of the prosecutor is the most important element...
I just depend on the law, and thats it." The
noble sentiments are those of Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor
of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
(ICTY). Shed just been asked whether she intended
to investigate the possibility that NATO might have committed
war crimes during its murderous bombing spree last year.
What about those smashed-up refugee convoys, the destroyed
housing estates, the bridges turned into rubble, trains
full of dead passengers, devastated monasteries, bombed
electrical grids and tv stations, cluster bombs, depleted
uranium? What about all of that? "Its not my
priority," she explained, "because I have inquiries
about genocide, about bodies who are in mass graves, and
thats what I am doing now."
thats all right then. These inquiries, carried out
by NATO government agencies like the FBI and Scotland Yard,
have one objective only: to nail NATOs enemies. Though
the media likes to paint her as an upright Katharine Hepburn
type, Del Ponte is a shameless liar. She is not "independent"
in any sense whatsoever. Her Tribunal is a creature of the
United States. Established in 1993 by Resolution 827 of
the UN Security Council, its objective was to use the aura
of "international law" to persecute the Serbs.
Startup funds of $6 million came courtesy of the U.S. ambassador
to the UN, Madeleine Albright. She also hired the initial
staff of 25 lawyers. As the president of the Tribunal, Judge
Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, explained in a speech at the U.S.
Supreme Court last April: "[W]e benefited from the
strong support of concerned governments and dedicated individuals
such as Secretary Albright. As the permanent representative
to the United Nations, she had worked with unceasing resolve
to establish the Tribunal. Indeed, we often refer to her
as the Mother of the Tribunal." In May,
before the Council on Foreign Relations, she stated: "The
U.S. Government has very generously agreed to provide $500,000
and to help to encourage other states to contribute. However,
the moral imperative to end the violence in the region is
shared by all, including the corporate sector. I am pleased,
therefore, that a major corporation has recently donated
computer equipment worth $3 million."
last years bombing, moreover, Bill Clinton secured
a $27 million appropriation for the Tribunal. In other words,
money is rolling in from people who have a vested interest
in the outcome of the trials. This is a flagrant violation
of the Statutes of the Tribunal. Article 32 states that
the "the expenses of the International Tribunal shall
be borne by the regular budget of the United Nations."
Soon after NATO launched its bombing campaign, Louise Arbour,
Del Pontes predecessor, appeared at a press conference
where British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook made a great
show of presenting her with a dossier of Serbian war crimes.
year, Prof. Michael Mandel of Toronto wrote to Arbour arguing
that, according to its Statutes, the Tribunal is obligated
to investigate NATO. Article 2, for instance, states that
the Tribunal "shall have the power to prosecute persons
committing or ordering to be committed grave breaches of
the Geneva Conventions...willful killing...willfully causing
great suffering or serious injury to body or health; extensive
destruction and appropriation of property, not justified
by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly."
Article 3 cites "wanton destruction of cities, towns
or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity"
and the "attack, or bombardment, by whatever means,
of undefended towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings..."