“My permanent fight to preserve the peace, prevent the war and decrease the sufferings of everyone regardless of religion were an exemplary effort deserving respect rather than persecution.”
–Radovan Karadzic to Balkan Insight, ahead of his March 24, 2016 Guilty verdict
“Through relentless propaganda efforts, “Srebrenica” has become a synonym for “genocide,” as Serbs stand accused of killing some 7,000 Muslim men – military personnel who refused to surrender – who fled the town. The fact that they gave safe passage, food, and water to the women and children left behind – hardly a hallmark of “genocide” – is ignored.”
–Nebojsa Malic, 2005
If one thinks that the 40-year sentence handed down last month to former Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadzic has nothing to do with oneself or with our collective future, then one hasn’t been paying attention. Not that anyone thinks about it one way or the other. Certainly not Americans in the throes of a presidential election year, and so who would bother paying attention to the fate of some former president, from some other, unthought-about country, for something that happened 20 years ago? Never mind that the American co-president from that era may be our president again next year.
Fact is, the American election pales in relevance to what just happened, yet again, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The Karadzic verdict in March was preceded in February by the death from “unknown causes” of yet another Serb in Hague custody. (Belgrade’s requests for treatment leave for the ailing Zdravko Tolimir — whose trial saw two judges go off the reservation with dissenting opinions that devastate the evidence of “genocide” in Srebrenica — were ignored.) Three months earlier, in October, a defense witness for Ratko Mladic died suddenly at a Hague hotel. That’s without mentioning the other six, starting with Croatian-Serb mayor Slavko Dokmanovic in 1998 and the back-to-back deaths of Milan Babic and Slobodan Milosevic in 2006. If these events all seem somehow marginal, then one has somehow missed that we are all Serbs now. No less for finding ourselves at the mercy of the “migrants” in our midst, whom our governments are intent on risking our hides to make welcome.
For the Serbs were the designated white man, and the designated Christian, to be sacrificed for the greater Muslim good. And, we thought, for the greater Western good, given the appreciation that would surely come our way from the Muslim world for punishing the infidels who dared fight back. Symbiotically, while Yugoslavia was being targeted by jihad, it was also targeted by the New World Order, as a test case, with the Serbian nation marked for extinction as an identity. The death of the “nation-state” as such would follow, as we are now seeing.
There is a reason that America exempts itself from the jurisdiction of an international court (at least until Hillary Clinton becomes president again). The U.S. is concerned about the potential for political prosecutions. That is, show trials. Of American leaders, generals, servicemen, and so on. That’s understandable. But it is more than a little vile to exempt oneself from such an Orwellian institution — while exploiting those very characteristics of it against others, something that not one American politician speaks out against.
But back to Karadzic. A few headlines, for background:
Radovan Karadzic found guilty of genocide, sentenced to 40 years
Radovan Karadzic, nicknamed the “Butcher of Bosnia,” was sentenced to 40 years….over his responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 7,000 [sic] Bosnian Muslim men and boys were executed [sic] by Bosnian Serb forces under his command…Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said in a statement that the verdict and sentence “will stand against continuing attempts at denying the suffering of thousands and the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.”
Note here that the prosecutor has let slip the real, political purpose of the trial: to preclude “genocide denial” vis-a-vis the still-not-established facts of Srebrenica. And he has carefully worded the much bandied-about “genocide” as general “suffering of thousands,” something no one has ever denied. The rest of the CNN excerpt:
…In a statement, the tribunal said it found Karadzic had committed the crimes through his participation in four “joint criminal enterprises,” including an overarching plot from October 1991 to November 1995 “to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory.”
The Croatian government hailed the verdicts Thursday — which came at the end of an eight-year trial — as welcome but long overdue, calling them “the minimum, for which the victims and their families unfortunately waited too long.” […]
In contrast, a verdict that wasn’t so hailed by Croatia came a week later, when Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj was uncharacteristically acquitted — after a 13-year stint in Hague custody during the proceedings — in a sort of balancing act the Court started practicing in recent years (when it noticed that people started noticing its Serb hunt). BBC on the Seselj verdict:
[P]residing Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti said the prosecution “had failed to prove…that there was a widespread and systematic attack against the non-Serb civilian population in large areas of Croatia and Bosnia. The evidence tendered and considered establishes instead that there was an armed conflict between enemy military forces with civilian components.”
Prosecutors had argued Mr Seselj was criminally responsible for the murder, torture and deportation of non-Serbs as part of his project to create a “Greater Serbia”. They had accused him of raising an army of volunteers who committed “unspeakable crimes”. But the trial chamber found that there was no “criminal purpose in sending volunteers” — and, moreover, they had not been under Mr Seselj’s command.
“The majority simply notes that it is not satisfied that the recruitment and subsequent deployment of volunteers implies that Vojislav Seselj knew of these crimes on the ground, or that he instructed or endorsed them,” it said.
The verdict also concluded that the “Greater Serbia” plan Mr Seselj had supported was not a “criminal”, but “political”, project.
Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic criticised the outcome as “a defeat for the Hague tribunal and the prosecution”.
“This verdict is an embarrassment for the Hague Tribunal…” Oreskovic told media in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar… “He’s the man who is burning the flags of Croatia and the EU,” Oreskovic said. [Said, mind you, without a hint of irony given not only the Yugo- and Serb-flag-burning that adorned Croatia’s secession, but also the sumptuous headlines that have been coming out of this “model EU member” in the past year alone (Wiesenthal Centre urges Croatia to end pensions to Nazi [veterans]; Wiesenthal Center Shocked by Appointment of Fascist Culture Minister Hasanbegovic; Croatia’s ‘Banal’ Fascism on Display at Israel Match; Croatia faces hardline sanctions over swastika etched on pitch; Croatians chant “Kill a Serb” at concert; and just this weekend: Monument to fascism victims [at site of biggest mass crime in Zagreb, Dotrscina forest] desecrated with fascist graffiti)]
[And] Bosnian lawyer Senad Pecanin called the verdict “scandalous”. […]
Not scandalous to Bosniaks, meanwhile — never mind their own butchers going free — was the guilty verdict in 2012 for the now dead Tolimir: “This is what we expected and we feel better now,” Srebrenica widow Rejha Avdic said. “We hope the court will continue to conduct fair trials.” One supposes the Not Guilty verdict in Seselj makes that trial “unfair.” (See Nebojsa Malic on the verdict: “Prisca Matimba Nyambe, a Zambian judge…calls out the other ‘judges’ for failing to prove even a single charge in the indictment. ‘Without a single piece of evidence adduced during this trial of a written [or stated] plan of a [Joint Criminal Enterprise] to Murder…the Majority relies upon circumstantial evidence to draw conclusions…I am wholly unpersuaded that the Accused is guilty of any of the charges alleged in the Indictment,’ she concluded…[T]he prosecutors — and the judges who sided with them — failed to prove that many of the things in the indictment actually happened, Nyambe argued.”)
Croatia on Thursday banned Šešelj from entering the country after prime minister Tihomir Orešković labelled the verdict “shameful” during a visit to Vukovar, scene of some of the alleged atrocities, where he laid wreaths in memory of war dead.
Šešelj was not at the courtroom in The Hague to hear the verdict…He had been allowed to return to Serbia because of his deteriorating health [which prompted a bizarre letter to the UN Secretary-General from Croatia’s incoming president, saying the humanitarian release undermined the entire purpose of the tribunal]…[T]he ICTY judgment said the prosecution’s case had been full of “confusion” and that “a lot of the evidence shows that [his] collaboration was aimed at defending the Serbs and the traditionally Serb territories or at preserving Yugoslavia, not at committing the alleged crimes”. [Imagine that!]
In the majority ruling, the ICTY’s presiding judge, Jean-Claude Antonetti, said… “The totality of the evidence substantiates the fact that the purpose of sending volunteers was not to commit crimes, but to support the war effort…The [court] by a majority…was unable to find…that, in calling upon the Serbs to “cleanse” Bosnia…Vojislav Šešelj was calling for ethnic cleansing of Bosnia’s non-Serbs. […]
The fairer fate of this least likeable of Serb defendants is interesting. Seselj is an actual nationalist and actually was interested in a “Greater Serbia” — which none of the convicted or dead bigger fish (Karadzic, Milosevic etc) had been. It’s possible Seselj was earmarked for a counterweight purpose. Unlike Milosevic, he was a) allowed health leave; b) the judges acknowledged the prosecution was “full of confusion,” something that judges in the Milosevic trial never acknowledged despite the schizophrenic prosecution there, which had international journalists laughing in the aisles and the judges calling for order; c) the judges chose to also acknowledge here that the evidence pointed not to murderous intent but to war-related aims and preserving the union, despite this defendant actually using the word “cleanse” — which less fortunate Serb defendants never did; and d) here we finally get the ‘bombshell’ admission that, in any case, “Greater Serbia” isn’t a criminal project, but a political one.
Or perhaps Seselj just wasn’t high-profile enough for the crowd-pleasing purposes that other Serb convictions serve, and so the Court felt it could give this one to the Serbs, to show that this too can happen. I asked former Senate Republican foreign policy analyst Jim Jatras for his take on the Seselj acquittal that came a week after the Karadzic conviction. He replied:
My own guess:
1. Springing Seselj shows ICTY’s fairness and impartiality, so that convicting other Serbs (notably Mladic and Karadzic) and exonerating Muslims (Oric, Ceku, Haradinaj, Thaci) is all the more “credible.”
2. Seselj is the perfect candidate to be the “Exhibit A” of “fairness towards Serbs,” since (a) there’s no evidence against him anyway, (b) he’s already “served” many years of a non-sentence for not doing anything, and (c) releasing him “back into the wild” in Serbia will make life difficult and interesting for other politicians, rendering them even more pliable (if that’s possible) [to Brussels and Washington demands].
An even more soberly cynical take came in an email from longtime Hague observer Andy Wilcoxson (links added):
[Serbian state security chiefs Jovica] Stanisic and [Franko] Simatovic were acquitted too, then the prosecutor appealed the verdict — and now the Tribunal is going to put them on trial all over again (double jeopardy). The same thing could happen to Seselj; they could drag this out forever.
If the Tribunal had convicted Seselj, it’s unlikely that they could have sentenced him to more than time served. By acquitting him, they open the door for the prosecutor to appeal the verdict and conduct a double jeopardy trial…I’m not a big fan of Seselj. He describes himself as a Serbian nationalist and he openly espouses the idea of greater Serbia. His party published the “Protocols of Zion,” which was banned by Slobodan Milosevic’s government because it promotes antisemitism.
That said, the charges against him were idiotic. The Serbian Radical Party was in the opposition for the duration of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Seselj and the Serbian Radical Party recruited volunteers to join the Bosnian-Serb and Krajina-Serb armed forces….As the president of an opposition political party, Seselj didn’t have the authority to issue orders to anyone. Nor did he he have the responsibility or power to punish anyone who committed war crimes…because the police and the courts didn’t answer to him.
He did make nationalistic speeches and he did make inflammatory statements during the war. He continues to do that to this very day, but that isn’t a crime nor should it be one. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right.
Wilcoxson also allows for the possibility that some sort of deal was struck between Washington/Brussels and the West-subordinated Serbian government. “A deal is possible,” he continued in a follow-up email. “The ICTY would have convicted Seselj if that was what they wanted to do. Not having sufficient evidence to convict has never stopped them from convicting anyone before — especially not a Serb. If he doesn’t hold up his end of the deal they can always grant the prosecutor’s appeal.”
(Or even if he does hold up his end of the deal, as Milosevic and Karadzic found out.)
Malic foreshadowed as much in 2013 (second link added):
The indictment and conviction [e.g. of Croatian, Bosniak, and Kosovo-Albanian defendants] are supposed to create the impression the ICTY is a real, impartial, legitimate court of law — which is then followed by a release on appeal. …Furthermore, as a fellow blogger pointed out, the ICTY has a habit of prosecuting only the alleged crimes against the designated victim groups. Hence, Serbs and (Bosnian) Croats get the (ICTY-written) book thrown at them for killing (Bosnian) Muslims, the few KLA are punished only for killing fellow Albanians, while no one ever gets punished for killing Serbs.
Back to Karadzic, and another telling choice of words, from Reuters:
“[T]hese harrowing images reveal the reasons why he was found guilty of the 1995 massacre and nine other war crimes.” –Gemma Mullin, UK Mirror, March 24, 2016
Think about that sentence a moment. There’s not even an attempt to disguise how international “justice” for the Balkans has worked. The judicial standard is, ‘Why was he convicted? Just look at the pictures.’ Images say he’s guilty, the evidence is irrelevant. A blatant, undisguised appeal to emotion. And they’re saying it themselves: It’s all an image war, Folks, a PR war. The court of public opinion is what counts here, based on inflammatory images devoid of context including the other belligerent’s suffering. Just as they did to secure the war itself, media shoved images in the public’ face to “explain” the verdict, and reinforce what we were told originally.
The images that The Mirror wanted you to base your opinion on, (from the above excerpted article), without mentioning that the trial found some of this bloodshed came from the victims’ own Muslim ranks:
Apparently, we’re still supposed to be moved and even outraged by Muslim suffering. Or, at the very least, be more understanding of their violence directed at us. (Indeed, who is more fanatical — Muslims, or the Westerners who, even as Muslims mow them down, are determined to put Serbs away for life?)
Below, some images you’re *not* supposed to see. Of dead Serbs, which would have only confused the tidy picture being peddled:
Tangentially, here was one of the “read more” links in that Mirror article: “Read more: Taunt of the ‘Butcher’: Former Bosnian Serb general makes throat-slit gesture at his war crimes trial“. It’s another illustration of the West’s immunity to correction when it comes to the Balkans; that the hazy incident happened at all was questionable enough that the AP issued a correction, at my prompting, when it could find no documentation that it took place.
That the ICTY is a political rather than judicial construct is illustrated by a decision that was timed as breathtakingly as the March 24th date of the Karadzic verdict. After a genocide charge (in a set of seven municipalities) was dropped from Karadzic’s trial in the summer of 2012 (”a setback for reconciliation!” the chorus repeated), it was reinstated a year later — announced on July 11, the same date that Srebrenica is commemorated. So dates are sometimes chosen as much to please Muslims as they are to beat up Serbs:
Radovan Karadžić genocide charge reinstated by UN judges (The Guardian, July 11, 2013)
Appeals judges at the United Nations’ Yugoslav war crimes tribunal have reinstated a genocide charge against Radovan Karadžić linked to a campaign of killing and mistreating non-Serbs at the start of the Bosnian war in 1992. The decision reversed the former Bosnian Serb president’s acquittal last year on one of the two genocide charges he faces, but it does not amount to a conviction.
The ruling in The Hague came on the day survivors gathered in Srebrenica to mark the 18th anniversary of the massacre by reburying 409 recently identified sets of remains exhumed from mass graves. […]
In the end, Karadzic was acquitted of, very specifically, “genocide” in the seven municipalities, and only on that count. Srebrenica, on the other hand, is still being asserted as genocide. Without any evidence of intent (in fact, plenty of evidence to the contrary, from the evacuation itself to the explicit orders to not harm civilians and to observe all the laws), and without even a precise number of victims and their causes of death. It’s easy to get confused, however, especially with sentences like this one from an October 2012 Toronto Sun article (emphasis added): “During the trial of Bosnian Serb General Stanislav Galic, the tribunal established that Bosnian Serb forces were responsible for shelling the market place.”
The key word there is that the tribunal “established.” In fact, as with a “genocide” per se happening in Srebrenica, what the tribunal does is not ‘establish’ anything so much as ‘assert’ (Western media consistently dodge the distinction). After the ICTY asserts, the other UN court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), adopts the assertions, and the institutions are then cited by the Bosniak lobby and wider Muslim mafia as having both “found,” for example, that genocide took place. The “findings” are then duly parroted by governments and media.
There are yet more strands to the M.O. of the Hague-Media-Government Axis. Retired Canadian ambassador James Bissett — who, before Karadzic ever said it, said that Karadzic “did his damnedest to prevent the war” — told me years ago that at the Milosevic trial (2002-2005), he observed NY Times correspondent Marlise Simons lifting her pen only when testimony correlated with the approved version of events. That is, not during the countless bombshells that came out in that trial chamber. And so it has gone with the media in general, something I got a taste of in the early 2000s, when the new New York Sun — revived ostensibly as a thinking “alternative” to The Times — deigned to broach the Balkans. It did so exactly when a set of inflammatory images of dead Muslims was being circulated to coincide with some narrative-reinforcing development in the Milosevic trial. Much the way the Court circulated a video of the execution of six Bosniak soldiers in 2005 (timed to the 10th anniversary of Srebrenica), something that all media including the “alternative” Fox News obliged in looping, no less as supposed “proof” of “genocide,” of “8,000.”
Below is an excerpt from Diana Johnstone, author of the new Hillary Clinton book Queen of Chaos, from her recent take on the seven-year Karadzic trial. It rounds out several aforementioned points:
The media stayed away from the marathon, and only showed up to report the inevitable “guilty” verdict condemning the bad guy. The verdict reads a bit like, “they said, he said, and we believe them not him.”
The most amazing passage in the rambling verdict by Judge O-Gon Kwan consists of these throw-away lines:
“With respect to the Accused’s argument that the Bosnian Muslim side targeted its own civilians, the Chamber accepts that the Bosnian Muslim side was intent on provoking the international community to act on its behalf and, as a result, at times, engaged in targeting UN personnel in the city or opening fire on territory under its control in order to lay blame on the Bosnian Serbs.”
This is quite extraordinary. The ICTY judges are actually acknowledging that the Bosnian Muslim side engaged in “false flag” operations, not only targeting UN personnel but actually “opening fire on territory under its control”. Except that that should read, “opening fire on civilians under its control”. UN peace keeping officers have insisted for years that the notorious Sarajevo “marketplace massacres”, which were blamed on the Serbs and used to gain condemnation of the Serbs in the United Nations [which led to bombing them], were actually carried out by the Muslim side in order to gain international support.
This is extremely treacherous behavior. The Muslim side was, as stated, “intent on provoking the international community to act on its behalf”, and it succeeded! The ICTY is living proof of that success: a tribunal set up to punish Serbs. But there has been no move to expose and put on trial Muslim leaders responsible for their false flag operations.
The Judge quickly brushed this off: “However, the evidence indicates that the occasions on which this happened pale in significance when compared to the evidence relating to [Bosnian Serb] fire on the city” (Sarajevo).
How can such deceitful attacks “pale in significance” when they cast doubt precisely on the extent of Bosnian Serb “fire on the city”?
[The ICTY] imported from US criminal justice the concept of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE)”, used originally as a means to indict gangsters. The trick is to identify the side we are against as a JCE, which makes it possible to accuse anyone on that side of being a member of the JCE.
After Slovenia and Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia, the Muslims and Croats of Bosnia voted to secede from Yugoslavia, but this was opposed by Bosnian Serbs who claimed it was unconstitutional. The European Union devised a compromise that would allow each of the three people self-rule in its own territory. However, the Muslim leader, Alija Izetbegovic, was encouraged by the United States to renege on the compromise deal, in the hope that Muslims, as the largest group, could control the whole territory. War thus broke out in April 1992.
Now, if you asked the Bosnian Serbs what their war aims were, they would answer that they wanted to preserve the independence of Serb territory within Bosnia rather than become a minority in a State ruled by the Muslim majority…However, according to ICTY the objective of the Serbian mini-republic was to “permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Serb-claimed territory … through the crimes charged”, described as the “Overarching Joint Criminal Enterprise”, leading to several subsidiary JCEs…The problem here is not that such crimes [expulsions] did not take place – they did – but that they were part of an “overarching civil war” with crimes committed by the forces of all three sides. If anything is a “joint criminal enterprise”, I should think that plotting and carrying out false flag operations should qualify…One of the subsidiary JCEs attributed to Karadzic was the fact that between late May and mid-June of 1995, Bosnian Serb troops fended off threatened NATO air strikes by taking some 200 UN peacekeepers and military observers hostage. It is hard to see why this temporary defensive move, which caused no physical harm, is more of a “Joint Criminal Enterprise” than the fact of having “[lethally] targeted UN personnel”, as the Muslim side did.
Many well informed Western and Muslim witnesses testify to the fact that the Serb takeover [of Srebrenica] was the unexpected result of finding the town undefended. This makes the claim that this was a well planned crime highly doubtful…ICTY’s constant bias (it refused to investigate NATO bombing of civilian targets in Serbia in 1999, and acquitted notorious anti-Serb Bosnian and Kosovo Albanian killers) drastically reduces its credibility.
ICTY reiterated its earlier judgment that the “killings demonstrate a clear intent to kill every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica. Noting that killing every able-bodied male of a group results in severe procreative implications that may lead to the group’s extinction, the Chamber finds that the only reasonable inference is that members of the Bosnian Serb Forces orchestrating this operation intended to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica as such.” In other words, even though women and children were spared, Srebrenica was a unique genocide, due to the “severe procreative implications” of a lack of men…This judgment is widely accepted without being critically examined. Since wars have traditionally involved deliberately killing men on the enemy side, with this definition, “genocide” comes close to being synonymous with war.
As if to make a point, the verdict was announced on the 17th anniversary of the start of NATO bombing of what was left of Yugoslavia, in order to detach Kosovo from Serbia. Just a reminder that it’s not enough for the Serbs to lose the war, they must be criminalized as well.
The verdict is political and its effects are political. First of all, it helps dim the prospects of future peace and reconciliation in the Balkans. Serbs readily admit that war crimes were committed when Bosnian Serb forces killed prisoners in Srebrenica. If Muslims had to face the fact that crimes were also committed by men fighting on their side, this could be a basis for the two peoples to deplore the past and seek a better future together. As it is, the Muslims are encouraged to see themselves as pure victims, while the Serbs feel resentment at the constant double standards. Muslim groups constantly stress that no verdict can possibly assuage their suffering – an attitude that actually feeds international anti-Western sentiment among Muslims. […]
The final recurring theme that I’ll mention here seems to be prosecution documents that don’t make their way to Serb defendants. On March 23rd, the day before the verdict was due, Karadzic defense attorney Peter Robinson tweeted:
Just rec’d 208 pages of exculpatory material in #Karadzic case from #ICTY prosecution this afternoon. Seriously, prosecutors?
This recalls a May 17, 2012 item, which the UK Mirror headlined “War Crimes Trial Blunder: Butcher of Bosnia’s genocide case halted after prosecutors’ error“:
The man dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia Ratko Mladic had his war crimes trial dramatically suspended today…because prosecutors failed to disclose thousands of documents to his defence.
Just another “blunder.” And notice how they still can’t seem to decide which one — Mladic or Karadzic — to dub “Butcher of Bosnia,” and so they split it between the two, sometimes calling one “Butcher of the Balkans” and the other “Butcher of Bosnia,” and sometimes applying one or both titles to Milosevic as well, when they remember about him. Also be on the lookout for facts eventually admitted by the Court (such as the Muslim side shelling its own civilians), to continue being reported as outlandish ravings by a desperate despot in denial. (For example, Reuters reporter Thomas Escritt’s “Karadzic denies Bosnia war crimes as he starts defence” was written in 2012, but the Islamic self-bombing that Karadzic claims and the report scoffs at will continue to be attributed to the mere defendants and not as the (reluctant) findings in his case.)
In addition to the Karadzic conviction doing its part for the general goal of justifying the 1990s Western policies and NATO operations that catalyzed worldwide jihad, it also had a more specific endgame, as outlined by Dr. Srdja Trifkovic last month:
Karadzic Sentencing Designed to ‘Delegitimize’ Republika Srpska (SputnikNews.com, Chronicles Magazine, March 26, 2016)
We are going to see the use of this verdict as another building bloc in the political case for the dismantling of the Dayton Agreement, signed in the fall of 1995, which recognized the Republika Srpska as a semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia-Herzegovina. This will be used, together with some previous verdicts, as justification for a sustained attempt to delegitimize its existence and to claim that — having verified the guilt of Karadzic — it is now time to look for another arrangement for the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a more or less unitarized state — in which, by virtue of their members, the Muslims will have predominance.
…The whole show at The Hague Tribunal has the task of providing legal justification for the decisions made by the Western powers in the 1990’s…a tribunal with a clear brief to prove Serbian guilt, as retroactive justification for political decisions made at the time.
…It is up to the Russians in particular to consider the implications of the quasi-legal proceedings at The Hague as a sword of Damocles that can be used against anyone who is politically inconvenient to the powers-that-be, such as the Donbas leaders today or Bashar al-Assad tomorrow.
… For as long as we have [a] political agenda, and in particular the pernicious doctrine of collective command responsibility — the so-called “joint criminal conspiracy [enterprise]” — anyone connected with a political structure that is inconvenient to the Western powers can be criminalized.
It is not a matter of committing real war crimes; it is a matter of collective guilt because you do not belong to the right side of history. In that sense, The Hague is even more politicized than the Moscow processes of 1936-1938.
Attesting to this dynamic was the Nov. 2012 conviction-reversal of two top Croatian generals who had led a homicidal and stated ethnic cleansing campaign against the Serbs of Krajina — just in time to clear NATO member Croatia’s legal slate for its 2013 EU entry. Jatras in November 2012:
[T]o claim guilt on the basis of a “joint criminal enterprise” (JCE) where there is no direct evidence of the accused’s personal participation in a crime does have its legal problems. That said, the fact that the clearing of the Krajinas was a JCE — that its intention was precisely to uproot the Serbian population — is well attested, including by [Croatian wartime president Franjo] Tudjman’s own words. Certainly far better attested than anything that can be demonstrated regarding, say, Srebrenica or Kosovo, where the proof of the JCE is entirely lacking….In short, there’s no way decently to dismiss JCE basis for Croat defendants (much less Muslims and the oh-so-righteous jihad) while rubber-stamping Serb convictions based on JCE.
This only shows that the purpose of ICTY was to criminalize the Serbs and their aspirations as such, netting such individuals as needed…while legitimating those of the Croats and, especially, Muslims (including Albanians).
So the merry game of rock, paper, scissors continues. Serbs are uniformly guilty. Muslims are uniformly innocent. Croats are guilty if their victims are Muslim, innocent if their victims are Serbs.
And this is all without even mentioning the tribunal’s legitimacy to begin with, as Nebojsa Malic reminded us the day after the Karadzic verdict:
The Hague is not bringing peace, reconciliation or closure — but a cynical victor’s justice, an endorsement of ‘might makes right.’ …The very purpose of the ad-hoc tribunal, a brainchild of the Clinton administration’s “human rights interventionists,” was to deny any legal legitimacy to the Serbs, while bestowing it on the US and its regional clients and proxies.
… Yes, [the tribunal] was established…under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, allowing the creation of “measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.” The very inception of the ICTY required stretching the definition of “measures” to include judicial power the UNSC clearly lacked — and therefore could not delegate.
Even if the tribunal were perfectly legitimate to begin with, its pattern of indictments should have been a signal something was amiss. The ICTY and its backers clearly believed any Serb atrocities were systematic and deliberate, while those committed by anyone else were random or incidental. While every single senior Serb official in present-day Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia was hauled before the court, only a few lower-level Croat, Bosnian Muslim or Albanian officials were even indicted — and most of them were acquitted outright, or on appeal. Only Serbs were charged with genocide — by definition, a systematic crime. Only Serbs were accused of a “joint criminal enterprise,” a category specifically constructed for the tribunal by a US jurist. [The gracious contribution of Pittsburgh law professor John Cencich, a Croat-American.]
“NATO countries are those that have provided the finance to set up the Tribunal, we are amongst the majority financiers… so let me assure that we and the Tribunal are all one on this, we want to see war criminals brought to justice and I am certain that when Justice [Louise] Arbour goes to Kosovo and looks at the facts, she will be indicting people of Yugoslav nationality and I don’t anticipate any others at this stage,” NATO spokesman Jamie Shea told reporters on May 17, 1999. Telling enough?
The Dayton-dismantling tool that the Court provides, meanwhile, is understood well enough by Serbian politicians — even those who play ball with the West and shamefully, finally acquiesced this year to formal NATO cooperation:
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic — who organised a protest rally in 2008 when Karadzic was sent to The Hague — warned on Thursday prior to the verdict that he will not allow the UN court’s verdict to be used to undermine Republika Srpska.
“I warn those who think they can use today’s verdict against the former president of Repubika Srpska for a political or any other kind of attack on Republika Srpska, that in line with Dayton agreement, Serbia cannot, should not and will not allow that,” Vucic said.
A mouse warning a snake. So far, it’s only ever ended one way.
The quote came from a Balkan Insight article titled “Serbian Nationalists Rally Against NATO, Karadzic Verdict“:
Commenting on the verdict, Seselj said that Karadzic “was convicted…because he is [a] Serb who found himself at a decisive and historic moment at the head of Republika Srpska”.
Seselj slammed the Serbian government for agreeing to cooperate with NATO’s Support and Procurement Organisation.
“Those who were bombing us in 1999, who were killing our children, those criminals from NATO, have now got the right voted in by parliament to walk freely across Serbia,” Seselj said.
The cooperation agreement with NATO “guarantees diplomatic immunity and freedom of movement through Serbia for NATO troops,” RT explained. “The troops are to uphold peace and stability in the region in exchange.” That part of the agreement is surely a punch line, as one protester’s words illustrate:
“We think it is hypocrisy to say that NATO will guarantee stability and security to our people in Kosovo and Metohija,” Milica Djurdjevic, spokeswoman for Zavetnici (Oath Keepers), the right-wing Serbian party that organized Sunday’s protest, said.
“Kosovo has had a NATO base for years now. And despite their presence, Serbs were persecuted, some [most] of our holiest and oldest monasteries were burnt, our houses were burnt and people were expelled from their homes.”
She also accused the alliance of breeding global problems [e.g. terrorism and migration] instead of solving them.
“I think what Nato did by bombing Serbia actually precipitated the exodus of the Kosovo Albanians into Macedonia and Montenegro. I think the bombing did cause ethnic cleansing. The whole business in the Balkans has been mismanaged from the start. It was obvious it was going to blow up.”
–Former British Foreign Secretary and NATO Secretary-General Lord (Peter) Carrington, Saga Magazine, Aug. 27, 1999
“Never before have so few lied so thoroughly to so many, as in connection with the Kosovo war.”
–Former Bundestag Member Willy Wimmer, 1999
“I was just a child in 1999 when NATO was destroying my country without any real basis. I swore to myself that I would defeat that same world in my own way and here I am today. That destruction did not destroy me, nor my people. They did not break our soul and we are yet joyful despite our problems. That is victory.”
–Novak Djokovic, March 24, 2016, via Opanak (Facebook)
“Some Serb paramilitary groups caused many sleepless nights to both Mladić and Karadžić. Not all of them were helpful and welcome. Some of them included even criminal elements, psychopaths. The others treated the Croat or Muslim civilians too heavy-handedly, but it could be understood to some extent, but not permitted, [particularly] if some of them had seen their families assassinated by the Muslims or the Croats. President Karadžić issued many orders to protect Muslims from those irregulars. I have seen many relevant documents about it. On the other [hand], some Serb paramilitaries helped a lot the unprepared and undefended Serb settlements that had been at the beginning an easy prey to the organized and trained Croat and Muslim bands, e.g., in northern and eastern Bosnia.”
–Czech university professor Rajko Dolecek, in an account of some conversations with Ratko Mladic, posted Dec. 16, 2009
“I did everything in human power to avoid the war. I succeeded in reducing the suffering of all civilians. I proclaimed numerous unilateral ceasefires and military containment. And I stopped our army many times when they were close to victory.”
–Radovan Karadzic, Opening Defense Statement, Oct. 16, 2012
It seems that just this past December another witness — a protected witness in the Mladic trial — testified that the marketplace bombing, specifically in February 1994, was not only perpetrated by the Muslim side, but ordered by President Izetbegovic himself. The item below is from Balkan Insight, Dec. 16, 2015, and notice the word choice in the headline “Mladic Witness Claims,” as opposed to the more commonly used (when reporting from judicial settings) “testifies.” Notice also the integral role played by a certain West-beloved cleric named Ceric. And for the first time, we have names offered up of the actual men behind the attack: Mladic Witness Claims Bosniaks Staged Market Attack
Protected witness GRM-116, who testified in Mladic’s defence at the Hague Tribunal on Tuesday, claimed that the attack on the market that killed 66 civilians in February 1994 was approved by the then Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic.
The witness said that as a member of the Biseri special security unit from 1992 to 1994, he worked on security at the Bosnian presidency building.
He said that during that time he could hear what Izetbegovic and others said during meetings.
According to the witness, Izetbegovic’s main goal was to ensure Western intervention to help the Bosniaks “by creating mass suffering in Sarajevo and Srebrenica”.
He said that Izetbegovic was heavily influenced by Islamic community leader Mustafa Ceric. According to the witness, Ceric convinced Izetbegovic that “losses must be suffered”.
Speaking about the attack on the Markale market, GRM-116 testified that was “Ceric’s idea, which was carried out by generals Sefer Halilovic and Mustafa Hajrulahovic, alias ‘the Italian’”.
“I was there when Alija [Izetbegovic] approved this,” he said.
At the next meeting, the witness said that Halilovic reported the first attempt was a failure because the mortar hit the roof of the market.
“Alija told them to try again. They went and soon we heard what happened with Markale,” he said.
Izetbegovic, who died in 2003, said after the attack that it was a “black and terrible day for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
As commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic is charged with terrorising the population of Sarajevo during wartime with a campaign of shelling and sniping.
According to the charges, the mortar which killed 66 citizens at the Markale market on February 5, 1994 was fired from Bosnian Serb positions. […]
In another recent example of categorizing things that go the Bosniaks’ way as “fair,” professional Srebrenica widow Munira Subasic reacted last June when Switzerland gave precedence to a Bosnian warrant over a Serbian one for Srebrenica warlord Naser Oric, tormentor of fellow Muslims and killer of Serbs: “This is the only fair decision.” (In the Reuters item that carried it, one couldn’t help noticing that Oric was referred to with the innocuous word “defender” of the town, in an all too Balkans-typical grafting by Western press of one side’s self-serving terminology.)
Restaurant honours mass murderer (Herald Sun, April 13, 2008)
An acclaimed Melbourne restaurant has sparked multi-ethnic outrage for paying homage to a fascist warlord and mass murderer.
The plush Katarina Zrinski restaurant attached to Footscray’s Croatian Club has been branded “disgusting” for its celebration of genocidal World War II Croatian leader Ante Pavelic.
Pavelic, who historians say was responsible for the deaths of up to 500,000 Jews, Serbs, Muslims and gypsies, has been described as the Heinrich Himmler of the Croatian nation.
The popular restaurant during the week displayed a big portrait of Pavelic on its wall and T-shirts depicting Pavelic for sale at the bar.
The T-shirts also showed two commanders of the Ustashe’s notorious Black Legion, which murdered thousands of civilians, and Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, who was jailed for collaborating with the Ustashe.
Drinkers at the bar were also toasting “The Poglavnik” - the name fascists use for their Fuhrer - and on Thursday the restaurant commemorated Hitler’s establishment of the puppet state of Croatia on April 10, 1941.
On Tuesday the restaurant was reviewed in a Melbourne newspaper’s food section, with its “large, airy downstairs dining room perfect for large, extended family groups”.
Dr Bob Miller, a Balkans expert at the Australian National University, has hit out at the club’s feting of Pavelic.
“It’s disgusting. This would be the equivalent to the German community honouring Himmler,” he said.
“Even the Nazis found the Ustashe regime’s actions so brutal as to be counter-productive.”
Serbians in Victoria have also expressed their distress.
“How can they do this?” George Marinkovic, publisher of the Serb Voice, said.
“Can someone explain this? We are in one beautiful country and you are going back and promoting fascists from the Hitler era. I cannot understand it.”
Dr Colin Rubinstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said: “While it is entirely understandable that Croatian Australians would want to celebrate the self-determination of modern democratic Croatia [as if it’s not the direct legacy of WWII Croatia], to celebrate a fascist World War II Nazi puppet state and its war criminal leader is totally contrary to the norms of multicultural Australia and should be condemned by Australians committed to a tolerant, diverse and democratic society.”
Club president Tony Juric acknowledged the restaurant honoured Pavelic, but said the leader had nothing to do with the Nazis.
“What the Nazis did was a disgrace and we had nothing to do with that,” he said. “I have never received one letter of complaint from a Jewish or a Serb organisation.”
One is left too speechless after that last line to offer intelligent commentary. But to echo Dr. Miller, it was the Nazis who ultimately wanted nothing to do with the Ustashe, as the latter were far too brutal.
Serb returnees, priest under attack in Croatia (B92, Tanjug, March 23, 2008)
ZADAR, ZAGREB — Ethnic Serbs in the vicinity of Zadar, in Croatia, have once again been targeted Saturday. Unknown perpetrators broke into and robbed a house in the village of Ceranje Donje near Benkovac. The house, which belongs to late Gojko Čubrilo, and is now used by his daughter Ksenija J., both Serb returnees, was then vandalized. The attackers also spilled some 500 liters of wine from the barrels inside the house. Beside this incident, Croatian MUP in Zadar also said a car belonging to Orthodox Serb priest Ljubomir Crnorak was stoned in Benkovac, when all the windows on the vehicle were smashed.
The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Dalmatian Eparchy condemned the incidents, and said the priest’s vehicle likely came under attack because of false allegations, printed in a local newspaper, that Crnorak “had erased the Croatian coat of arms from his license plates”.
The vice-president of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) in Croatia, Milorad Pupovac, also condemned the attacks, which happened in his native village, where six returnee houses were vandalized last year.
Some 250,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Croatia during Operation Storm in the summer of 1995. Official Croatian government data says that 50,000 of them have since returned.
Serb Basketball Fans Hurt in Croatia (Balkan Insight, Jutarnji list, Tanjug, March 17, 2008)
Five Serbian citizens were beaten up while taking a break at a service station in Croatia, local media reported Monday.
The five, fans of the Vojvodina basketball team, were driving in a car with Serbian plates on their way back from Split where they had attended a match between Serbia’s Vojvodina and Croatia’s Split basketball teams.
They had stopped to rest in Dobra in central Croatia early Sunday when they were attacked by a group of masked people.
Croatian police confirmed the incident. The Jutarnji list daily said no one was seriously injured but other sources reported that two were hospitalized while other three suffered minor injuries.
(If the victims had traveled in order to cheer the Vojvodina team, there’s a good chance that, ironically, they were ethnic Hungarian citizens of Serbia, another group that’s looking for a piece of Serbia for itself. But all it took to get hurt was a Serbian license plate.)
On this very weekend in 2008, we also saw the following Croatian epiphany:
Croatian Breakthrough: This Year, Let’s Not Give Less Money to the Holocaust Memorial than to the Memorial for the Nazis who Killed People There
Oh but here’s post-EU Croatia:
Wiesenthal Centre urges Croatia to end pensions to Nazi [veterans] (AFP, May 19, 2015) (It’s actually a double pension, according to the article above, enacted within two years of Croatia starting its secession war.)
And full-circling back to this week, from Jerusalem Post, by Simon Wiesenthal’s Efraim Zuroff, April 13, 2016:
…Earlier this week, Croatian army veterans (of the war of the Nineties against Yugoslavia) of the Ninth Division gathered to celebrate their unit’s 25th anniversary, but also to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) which was governed by the fascist Ustasha movement and pursued genocidal policies against Serbs, Jews and Roma. The veterans’ call to legalize the Ustasha salute of “za dom spremni” (the Croatian equivalent of the Nazis’ “sieg heil”) is an attempt to legitimize the murderous policies of the NDH and whitewash that regime’s crimes.
Another typical initiative, but one which is much more dangerous, is a new documentary movie entitled Jasenovac-Istina (Jasenovac - The Truth), which had its world premiere this past February 28 in Israel, of all places, most probably to help deflect potential criticism of its highly controversial content. Jasenovac, which was established in August 1941, was the largest of the concentration camps created by the Ustasha regime of the NDH in order to rid their country of its minority populations, as well as their Croatian political opponents…
…[T]he film claims that Jasenovac was actually only a labor/concentration camp, not one at which there was any attempt to commit genocide of any sort, and that the number of Ustasha victims there was less than the number of innocent people murdered by the Yugoslav partisans after the war on the same site. In other words, it was the Communists who set up a “death camp” in Jasenovac, not the Ustasha, a totally unsubstantiated claim without any hard evidence to back it up.
…In addition, the film accuses former Croatian presidents Mesic and Josipovic, both known for their opposition to fascism and Ustasha nostalgia, as well as several left-wing journalists, of keeping alive the [”]Communist myth[”] of Jasenovac, and covering up the full truth about postwar Communist crimes. Needless to say, recently-appointed Croatian Minister of Culture Zlatko Hasanbegovic, who is well known for his support for right-wing causes, was quick to praise the film. [See Wiesenthal Center Shocked by Appointment in Croatia of Fascist Culture Minister Hasanbegovic and Calls for his Immediate Replacement, Feb. 5.]
Given these circumstances, the Serb and Jewish communities, along with the Croatian anti-fascist organizations, have decided to boycott the official government memorial ceremony annually held at Jasenovac on April 22. Instead, the Jewish community announced that it would hold its own memorial ceremony a week earlier on April 15, as a form of protest against the government’s failure to act against the revival of fascism and anti-Semitism in the public sphere.
The only good news in that respect these days was a declaration by both the Croatian president and prime minister (separately) that the Ustasha government was a “criminal regime,” but these pronouncements were apparently only made at the request of the US State Department’s envoy on Holocaust issues, who met with them earlier this week in Zagreb. […]
Interestingly, while the date March 24th was symbolically reserved for the Karadzic verdict this year, those headlines came perilously close to being upstaged on that same day by an unwelcome headline regarding our pal Croatia, “Croatia’s ‘Banal’ Fascism on Display at Israel Match.” (Four days later, Zuroff was busy again: “Wiesenthal Center Calls for Sanctions Against Croatian Soccer Fans in Wake of Fascist and Anti-Semitic Chants at Recent Israeli-Croatian Friendly Match”
Indeed, why is a Nazi hunter having such a busy 2016 in Croatia? Here he was the previous week:
Nazi-Hunter Criticizes Croatia Fans’ Fascist Chants (Balkan Insight, April 6, 2016)
…“If the prime minister and/or at least other ministers would have clearly and unequivocally denounced the disgusting behaviour of the Croatian fans after the match, the damage done would have been mitigated somewhat, but the only response from the prime minister’s office was a short press release condemning the use of symbols and slogans of totalitarian regimes, without mentioning the match and the specifics of the event,” Zuroff wrote in his article.
[Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic’s statement responding to the Jewish and Serb boycott of the annual Jasenovac commemoration seemed to blame the boycotters: “I’m sorry that this occasion, instead of paying respect to the victims, is used for politicization that opens new divisions in society. All that not only insults the victims and their families, but also inflicts huge damage on Croatia.” (It’s apparently gotten so that the previous government, itself no beacon of anti-fascism, has joined the boycott, acknowledging that the current government has a fascism problem.)]
[Zuroff] also criticised Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and Education and Sports Minister Predrag Sustar, who attended the match against Israel in Osijek, for not reacting immediately.
“Given the fact that these chants were clearly heard by all those in the stadium, their failure to respond is an indication of tolerance for such outrageous, insulting and clearly anti-Semitic behaviour,” Zuroff said.
Zuroff alleged that Croatia is “a country where manifestations of fascism and anti-Semitism are very common, especially in the local soccer stadiums…”
…Football governing body FIFA fined the Croatian Football Federation 55,000 euros after fans chanted “Za dom spremni” at a match against Norway in March 2015, and ordered the national team to play its next match to an empty stadium. […]
And yet here was that June:
Croatia faces hardline sanctions over swastika etched on pitch (InsideWorldFootball.com, By Mark Baber, June 15, 2015)
…[I]ncredibly, despite a giant swastika being emblazoned on a pitch during a televised match which was being held behind closed doors due to previous racist incidents, the game continued with groundsmen attempting, but failing, to remove the markings at half-time.
…Following the imposition of the closed door sanction, the Croatian FA…blamed an anti-racism campaigner for bringing the problem of racist chanting to the attention of UEFA, despite the history of Nazi sentiment expressed by Croatian fans which included 200 of them lining up in swastika formation on the terraces in a game against Italy in Livorno 2006. The ineffectiveness of the Croatian Football Federation in tackling the problem is unsurprising given that [Croatian Football Federation president Davor] Suker himself has been photographed paying his respects at the tomb of the fascist Ustase leader and war criminal Ante Pavelic in Madrid.
Then that August (under a slightly different headline): Croatians chant “Kill a Serb” at concert organized by local authorities to celebrate Serb-expulsion national holiday (Balkan Insight, Aug. 6, 2015)
Croatia coach defends controversial choice of Simunic [as his assistant, citing Simunic’s “decency”, “patriotism” and promoting “a good atmosphere”] (Joe Simunic was of course the soccer star who celebrated Croatia’s World Cup qualification in November 2013 with the Croatian-fascist chant “Za Dom Spremni” — a Croatian ‘indiscretion’ that uncharacteristically found its way to mainstream radars, such as ESPN’s.)
Meanwhile, a few more details on Croatia’s new culture minister, Hasanbegovic, a Croatian Muslim:
Croatian Historian Condemns Minister’s WWII Rhetoric (Balkan Insight, April 13, 2016)
…Culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic has never expressed any regret for his controversial statements in the 1990s praising Croatian Nazi-allied Ustasa fighters as heroes, [historian] Natasa Matausic told BIRN in an interview…Matausic also criticised more recent statements by Hasanbegovic in which he…insisted that Croatia was “tragically defeated in 1945…”
Hasanbegovic has said that the state should cut the funding for the annual commemoration at Jasenovac, arguing that the event was used for “the rehabilitation of Yugoslav communism”…Matausic also had harsh words for Croatia’s HDZ-backed President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, who visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in January.“I remember, after my first visit to Auschwitz, faced with the fact that the name ‘death factory’ for this camp is not a metaphor but a literal meaning, I was completely broken. I couldn’t eat, sleep or see anyone near me,” Matausic said.“The president, in the other hand, had enough strength to support our handball players at a match in Cracow after her visit to Auschwitz,” she added…
Mind you, what expectations can one have of the permanently recovering fascists of Croatia, when the godfather himself — the U.S. — gives tacit blessings to such goings-on? It was after a doppelganger Croatian year of escalating clerical-fascist activity (2006-07) that NATO gave the nod to Croatia as its/our home base in the Balkans:
As you probably are not aware, on October 1st  NATO began twelve days of special forces maneuvers on land and in the air and sea, on the Yugoslav side of the Adriatic. Thirteen countries are participating, including twelve NATO members plus Croatia, which is hosting the maneuvers even though it is not a member — a first. Albania and Montenegro, also not members, are observing. Serbia is not.
These military maneuvers, positioning Croatia as NATO’s command center in the Adriatic Sea area, with coastal states Albania and Montenegro as deputies (see map), are being held after a year of escalating clerical-fascist activity in Croatia, activity to which NATO, by presenting Croatia as a model Adriatic state, has given its blessing.
Now, keeping this year’s ‘colorful’ Croatia headlines in mind, enjoy this final flashback to Bush’s last year, 2008:
Bush: Croatia a Good Example for the Region
The United States of America supports Croatia’s membership of NATO, said the president of the USA, George W. Bush in an interview for Croatian Television (HTV)…adding that…Croatia has become an example for the other countries created after the fall of Yugoslavia…I am coming to a different country from the one visited by my forerunner Bill Clinton. Since then society, government and economy have changed – said the president of the most powerful country in the world. He explained that NATO is important because it will ensure stability and security, which will attract foreign investments which bring well paid jobs.
Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Sanader of Croatia in Zagreb, Croatia (PRNewsWire, April 5, 2008)
…The United States appreciates the leadership you have shown in the cause of freedom. We re pleased Albania and Croatia have been invited to join NATO…Laura, who has joined me today, and I are proud to stand on the soil of an independent Croatia.
The Croatian people have overcome war and hardship to build peaceful relations with your neighbors, and to build a maturing democracy in one of the most beautiful countries on the face of the Earth.
(Applause.) Americans admire your courage and admire your persistence.
And we look forward to welcoming you as a partner in NATO.
Henceforth, should any danger threaten your people, America and the NATO Alliance will stand with you, and no one will be able to take your freedom away.
With the changes underway in this region, Europe stands on the threshold of a new and hopeful history.
The ancient and costly rivalries that led to two world wars have fallen away. […]
So much for that.
Croatia has served as a very good example, following a very dramatic moment, and that is the breakup of Yugoslavia…I’m really looking forward to going to your country…And they say it’s one of the most beautiful coastlines in the entire world.
–President George W. Bush, March 26, 2008
As we all know, human rights don’t matter if you’ve got a nice coast. And so that’s usually what most articles about Croatia in the West are about. Not only was HBO’s “Game of Thrones” sold on it, filming part of the show there, but CNN has been known to loop Croatian tourism ads saying ‘Croatia — the Mediterranean as it once was.’
And so Croatia, that good guy of the Balkans — “leading the way to the EU” — pledged help to other Balkan nations on their own path to the EU: Croatia pledges to help fellow Western Balkan countries on path to EU (Xinhua, March 29, 2008)
Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic said on Saturday that his country is willing to assist fellow Western Balkan countries on their path to EU membership by offering them its experience and advice…Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn stressed the positive role of Croatia in stabilizing the region….
As Miodrag Linta, head of Serbia’s Coalition of Refugee Associations, put it in November 2014, Croatia presents itself “as a country that has met all the requirements before entering the European Union and therefore claims the right to lecture Serbia about respecting the standards of democracy and the rule of law - which represents the pinnacle of cynicism.”
More than 100,000 people gathered [in Knin, Croatia, to commemorate 1995’s Serb-cleansing Operation Storm] for the 11th time, organized by Marko Perković aka Thompson, many of whom carried flags, hats and other props with the symbols of the WW2-era Nazi entity known as the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Linta added that those gathered in Čavoglava sang songs with lyrics such as, “Oh mother Croatia, we will slaughter Serbs …” and the like, and also chanted slogans of NDH’s Ustasha regime which spread hatred towards Serbs. Linta specifically invited parliamentary groups to condemn, in a declaration, convicted war criminal Dario Kordić, former president of the HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina and vice-president of the war-time Croat Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia entity. He this year addressed the event in Čavoglave and said it was “a magnificent gathering, and a road sign showing Croatia where it should go.”
Kordić, Linta recalled, was this year was released from prison after serving two thirds of his sentence of 25 years, handed down by the Hague Tribunal for the war crimes he committed against Bosniak civilians.
Meanwhile, in addition to graciously offering to mentor other Balkan countries vis-a-vis the EU, Croatia in 2009 also made this promise: “Croatia won’t block Serbian integration”
Croatia to block Serbia from joining EU over  war crimes law (Feb. 6, 2015)
Serbia’s EU accession talks blocked by Croatia (March 21, 2016)
Croatia Stalls Serbia’s EU Negotiations (April 7, 2016)
EU Urges Croatia Not to Block Serbia’s Path (April 15, 2016)