Ivo Skoric on Mon, 1 Feb 1999 05:46:28 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> ivogram 1/31: Racak Part II + comments

From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 21:19:28 +0000
Subject: (Fwd) Part II: War Crimes in Racak, Kosovo

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

HRW REPORT: Government War Crimes in Racak (Part II)

The Forensic Investigation

        After a thorough inspection of the bodies by KVM, villagers 
collected the bodies and transported them to the Racak mosque.  Two 
days later, however, under heavy arm, the police entered the village 
and took the corpses to the morgue in Prishtina.
        On January 25, head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in 
Prishtina, Slavisa Dobricanin, announced that autopsies had been 
conducted on twenty-one bodies, some of them conducted in the presence 
of OSCE personnel.  None of the bodies bore the signs of a massacre, 
he said.  The OSCE did not comment on its impressions of the 
procedures or the announced results.  
        A Finnish pathology team subsequently took over for the OSCE, 
and began to participate in the autopsy procedures together with the 
government authorities.   The team distanced itself from Dobricanin's 
statements and, on January 26, expressed concern that there had been a 
tampering with the evidence, although they did not clarify by whom or 
when.  The results of the Finns' investigations should be made public 
in early February.

The International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

        Human rights organizations can document the abuses taking 
place in Kosovo, and the international community can take steps to 
bring these abuses to an end.  But only one institution has been 
entrusted by the international community to prosecute the persons 
responsible for violations of humanitarian law: the International 
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  The role of the 
ICTY is of crucial importance, as the prosecution of those who commit 
atrocities is likely to have a significant deterrence effect in 
addition to upholding the principles of international justice.
        ICTY's jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Kosovo is 
indisputable under the mandate established by U.N. Security Council 
resolution 827, and has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the U.N. 
Security Council in its resolutions on Kosovo, as well as by the 
tribunal itself.  In the absence of any efforts on the part of 
Yugoslav authorities to bring the perpetrators of humanitarian law 
violations to justice, the ICTY represents the only avenue to 
prosecute abusers.
        The Yugoslav authorities have consistently refused to accept 
the jurisdiction of the ICTY, and have frustrated the work of ICTY 
investigators in Kosovo by denying them visas and barring them from 
carrying out investigations.  Only a few ICTY investigators have been 
able to gain access to Kosovo, and even they have been officially 
prohibited by the Yugoslav authorities from interviewing persons or 
gathering evidence.  The Yugoslav authorities base their refusal to 
cooperate with the ICTY on their view that the conflict in Kosovo is 
an internal dispute with "terrorists," a view repeatedly rejected by 
the ICTY, the U.N. Security Council, and other international actors, 
including Human Rights Watch.
        On January 18, Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, Louise Arbour, 
attempted to enter Kosovo through Macedonia in order to "investigate 
the reported atrocities in Racak."  She did not have a Yugoslav visa, 
having been denied one by the authorities, and was refused entry into 
the country.  Back in The Hague, Arbour stated unequivocally that she 
will be investigating the massacre in Racak "with or without access to 
the territory."  Regarding the fears of evidence tampering, she said:

        Evidence of tampering - should such evidence become available, 
is, in fact, excellent circumstantial evidence of guilt.  If one can 
trace where the order to tamper came from, it permits a pretty strong 
inference that it was done for the purpose of hiding the truth, which 
demonstrates consciences of guilt.

        Western governments and the Contact Group, including Russia, 
have called on President Milosevic to cooperate with the ICTY.  More 
than just a visa for Arbour, this should mean unrestricted access for 
ICTY's investigators to Racak and the sites of other humanitarian law 
violations in Kosovo committed by both the KLA and the government.

From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 21:19:39 +0000
Subject: comments

I received plenty of comments on my writing about our slick Billy and 
the soap opera surrounding him. In general American readers either 
expressed their concern and/or unease about the issue, while European 
readers were kind of annoyed. The perception in Europe is that big 
media are already giving too much attention to a relatively 
irrelevant story. Nobody really believes that Clinton can seriously 
get ousted. Which displays a consensus of common sense. Do I state 
the obvious? Maybe I need to. I also got a comment advising me that  
balanced budget is not that balanced either, considering the enormous 
debt servicing portion of that debt (which is mostly the debt 
incurred by fighting the cold war: $ 5.48 trillions were spent on 
nukes since 1940, and the non-nuclear defense programs costed even 
more). I just needed to say how amazed I was with the readiness of 
certain political forces in the U.S. to use any means neccessary in 
order to obtain political power. That's what reminded me of the 
politicians who threw former Yugoslavia in several consequtive wars 
in order to attain and retain power. And yes, some people from the 
Balkans noted that I know more about politics there than in the U.S., 
which, of course, is true. Like, Tudjman or Milosevic would never 
settle like Clinton did in Paula Jones case. $850K? Are you kidding? 
They'd have the bitch drowned. Maybe, if they succeed, the new 
political forces in the U.S. would make the position of the President 
as revered and potent as Tudjman and Milosevic  made theirs: they 
can't get impeached AND they can dismiss their parliaments. So, let's 
get back to the place where being the President is still an 
enjoyable (and quite often a lifetime) job - like a place where 
Kosovo refugees live in an abandoned Coca Cola plant (Sarajevo's 
suburb of Hadzici). Javier Solana just got authorized to call upon 
NATO air-strikes whenever he'd feel the need for them. Don't get too 
excited, though - if we remember Bosnia, it takes a long time from 
authorization to realization... 

Meanwhile, Croatia finally got a foreign correspondent in the U.S. 
For years sine independence none of Croatian media had a 
correspondent from here, with the correspondent to the largest 
Croatian daily in times of so-called yugo-communism being moved to a 
lower profile advisory position with the Croatian mission to the UN. 
Croatian TV and other state-run media sent their reporters over when 
there was a need, and some magazines used the VOA Croatian section 
staff as part-time or honorarium reporters: but there was no 
permanent correspondent, until recently when Vecernji List - the 
largest Croatia's daily, employed Vladimir P. Goss, an art historian 
with no previous journalistic experience, who lives in the U.S. for 
past 30 years, but with good connections to HDZ. He was picked by 
Branko Tudjen, the editor-in-chief of Vecernji, whose past included 
an embarassingly obseqious relationship to the last president of 
Croatia's Communist Party, Stanko Stojcevic, a Serb who had run to 
his pal Milosevic a.s.a.p. after HDZ won the elections. 
Vecernji List, by the way, is that newspaper that published 
the article on arrival of Ron Brown to Dubrovnik, and even 
quoted him, despite that Brown died as his plane crashed 
before landing. Vladimir Goss writes a weekly op-ed piece (on 
Mondays) called "In the shadow of Capitol Hill" where she comments on 
America's social climate. On January 18 he wrote a piece headlined 
"The U.S. Super-Russian" discovering un-american activities in every 
corner of American establishment since 1969. As an art historian he 
is obviously particularly disturbed that "Russians" (which is his 
bona-fide term for "liberal", I guess) run art galleries. He attacks 
'multiculturalism' calling it a method of reducing civilisation to 
its lowest common denominator, and he ends his thoughtful article 
with an epochal discovery: "the idol of that media, intelectual, 
moneyed and political elite is the Super-Russian, Hillary Clinton." 
Maybe he should consider writing speeches for some junior republican 
congressmen, it might pay better, and he wouldn't be wasting his 
valuable thoughts on Croatian public that perhaps doesn't give a damn 
about Hillary.


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