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DOCUMENTARIO DEDICATO DA AL-JAZEERA ALLA LEADER RADICALE EMMA BONINO

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LET'S NOT CURTAIL THE COURT OF THE VANQUISHED

by Emma Bonino

Could it be that the journalists, or rather, the press at large, also feel guilty about the ongoing tragedy of Bosnia Hercegovina? The question comes spontaneously on reading the accounts published by the press following the inauguration in The Hague of the international tribunal for the repression of the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia. There is widespread skepticism, ex post indignation and a lot of guilt in these articles. "The tribunal should punish the crimes of the West", "It's a curtailed NĆ¼rnberg", "It's nothing but a way for the international community to wash away the guilt of not having stopped the carnage". These were the prevailing positions in the newspapers. But what is the purpose of destroying the only instrument the international community has managed to devise even before it starts functioning? What is the point of branding with ineffectiveness the first "tribunal of the vanquished" ever set up by the United Nations, joining the choir of voices that predict that "it will never be able to function"? Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that a feeling of guilt and powerlessness is prevailing over the need to resist barbarity, which is certainly more difficult to organize after all the mistakes, shortcomings and complicities of the recent and less recent past. The fact is that the former Yugoslavia is a mirror in front of which we all feel ashamed: both those who understood the tragedy in fieri (including our "war envoys") and, all the more so, those who reserved only conventional expressions of grief for the massacred bodies. The heaviest responsibilities lie, obviously, with the Realpoliticians of the West, who banqueted and negotiated with the criminals while their butchers were killing and raping. No one can shun their part of guilt. Even less so the media, who are guilty of only occasionally showing indignation and commitment on the former Yugoslavia, when it came to magnifying the case of the child Irma, talking about the dozens of thousands of raped women or showing one of the many "bread massacres". The media have never assumed instead the demanding task of giving daily coverage on the lives and death of the people at war, of defending legality and the rule of law day by day, if necessary kicking the myth of the event of the day, which, as such, can last only a day. Perhaps this is why the novelty inherent in the tribunal of The Hague has never managed to pass through the filter of the media and reach the readers. No one has told these readers that while the tribunal obviously cannot solve the war or break the ice which is already gripping Sarajevo, it is a first step towards the reinstatement of the legality which has been lost in these years. It is not true that the Tribunal of The Hague cannot function. It is true instead that it is a juridical instrument that can function only if it is sustained by a political will. And the widespread destructive attitude of these days goes to the advantage of the criminals and of the war lords, not only of the Balkans, because it thwarts any attempt to bring the problem of coexistence back into the realm of international legality. Branding the Tribunal of The Hague with ineffectiveness makes it impossible to achieve the real objective the radical campaign for the establishment of an international tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, which is the creation of a permanent tribunal for the prosecution of all crimes against humanity committed in every part of the world. We were accused months ago of using different criteria of judgment by advocating the creation of a tribunal on the former Yugoslavia and neglecting instead to ask one for Cambodia, Chile, Salvador. But depriving the judges of the necessary support of the public opinion and of the governments means undermining the possibility of obtaining a tribunal for other such tragedies, the ones that go under the name of Somalia, Burundi and Nagorno Karabach.





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