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DOCUMENTARIO DEDICATO DA AL-JAZEERA ALLA LEADER RADICALE EMMA BONINO

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"THE DAYS OF JUDGMENT"

Emma Bonino interviewed by Barbara Carazzolo Will the tribunal established by the United Nations on 17 November in The Hague to prosecute war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia be a tribunal without defendants? A powerless, abstract and fundamentally useless tribunal, created to appease the conscience of an international community that has done close to nothing to stop those same massacres it should prosecute today? This is a perplexity expressed by many parts on the occasion of the official inauguration of those eleven judges plus a public prosecutor who, under U.N. Security Council Resolution N. 837, are to prosecute persons who have committed crimes against humanity in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. "On the contrary, we should expect a lot from this initiative", answers Emma Bonino who, with the transnational radical party, has carried out a long campaign to urge the creation of the tribunal. "Nothing will be able to cancel the mistakes and the shortcomings of the international community and of Europe in particular on this senseless war. But this doesn't mean that the ad hoc Tribunal cannot fulfil its task adequately. Obviously the public opinion must press to keep alive the attention on its activity, on the allocation of the funds to secure its continuation, on the cooperation that will need to come from the various states. Otherwise the tribunal will become yet another lost occasion". Isn't it unrealistic to expect Milosevic or Karadzic to turn up spontaneously in The Hague to be prosecuted? "This tribunal is the expression of the will of the only international authority which has binding powers, i.e. the United Nations Security Council. An international arrest warrant issued by the Tribunal will need to be enforced. Otherwise there is a clause that establishes that these defendants will become international "outcasts". This means they will no longer be able to leave their country because the police forces of any nation could arrest them. It is an important breakthrough in the application of the international law, and one that paves the way for the preparatory activity of a permanent U.N. tribunal which has long been in the air and that could finally see the light in 1995, on the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations". But how can the tribunal function without a police force to carry out the investigations and arrest the defendants? "The Commission of Experts appointed by the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia to investigate has already gathered many elements, testimonies and evidence, albeit among countless difficulties. And it will continue to do so under the mandate of the Public Prosecutor Escovar Salomon, the former minister of Justice and president of Amnesty International in Venezuela. Juridically speaking, the Tribunal is based on three international conventions signed by all nations, including Serbia: the convention on genocide, the one on torture and the one on human rights and on the rights of war victims. Also, it is established that the responsibilities are individual, and also apply to officers who obey orders that violate these conventions". Never as in this war have international conventions been violated: rape, for instance, has been used as a weapon during this war. "The traditional war has always considered the victims among the civilians as accidental victims: if an airport has to be shelled, the fact that civilians would die does not stop the operation from being carried out. In the former Yugoslavia, instead, the opposite is occurring: the objective is exterminating the civilian population. The shells are fired on playgrounds filled with children, snipers shoot on people who are queuing up for bread. In this context, rape and emasculation are weapons as effective as guns. In the face of this, the international community preferred to turn a blind eye and place all parties at the same level, the aggressed and the aggressors, and continue with truces that were constantly violated. It should instead have made it clear from the beginning that Serbia is the aggressor, that Milosevic is doing what Hitler did. And Europe, as then, pretends not to see, carries on with its policy of siding with the strong man provided things were quiet in the area, hoping that sooner or later he would calm down. But Milosevic won't calm down, because he knows he can do whatever he likes. Another principle which the United Nations Member States must respect, or be expelled, is that borders cannot be changed with the use of weapons. And once the international community has recognized the independence of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia, it cannot accept changes of border with acts of aggression, especially because in this way it encourages the dictators of the Third World, who are waiting to see just how the international community will react to these facts and draw the consequences". Excluding an armed intervention, how many chances are there that the United Nations will really succeed in stopping the havoc? "If the U.N. managed to isolate Iraq from its Muslim brothers with a strict embargo, then it can obviously do the same with Serbia. If only it wanted to, the international community could isolate Milosevic economically, politically and diplomatically. Without oil supplies Milosevic wouldn't resist for more than two months. You can't wage a war without oil, and oil can't be transported on a donkey's back but travels along streets and highways in tanks. So it's not true that the cargoes directed to Serbia can't be controlled at the borders. Simply there is no will to do so. Obviously the neighbouring states that would suffer from the embargo should be compensated. That is what has been done for Iraq, but not for Serbia, while Europe continues to negotiate and barter with Milosevic".





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