The Guardian

The Guardian May 12, 1999


Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

War crimes

Near the end of April, the British Sunday Telegraph ran a profile of 
Louise Arbour, the Canadian judge who is Chief Prosecutor for the  
"International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and 
Rwanda".

Australian papers reprinted it on May 2.

A few days later Justice Arbour announced her imminent departure from the 
Tribunal: she is top of the list to head the Canadian Supreme Court, it 
seems.

The departure of the Canadian is a blow to the USA, for although Justice 
Abour stoutly denied that her "tribunal" was manipulated by NATO or anyone 
else, she and it are clearly in accord with the current US  and NATO  
definition of the tribunal's role and area of operations.

"Happily", she told The Sunday Telegraph, "we are in an environment 
where some of the political interests coincide with our need for 
information, so, not surprisingly, I go to London and I go to Germany and I 
get a very positive reception." That's not surprising at all.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Robin Cook, Tony Blair's hawk of 
a Foreign Secretary, has presented her with a "dossier of intelligence 
reports" about "Yugoslavian war crimes".

Cook is the man who has been loudly beating the drum for NATO, proclaiming 
that in future it will intervene at will anywhere in the world, at its own 
discretion.

Curiously for such a supposedly eminent jurist, Justice Arbour has no 
compunction about discussing the likelihood of indicting the President of 
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a war criminal. She does not seem 
fased by any concern over the presumption of innocence.

In fact, she talks just like a typical United States DA: her tribunal in 
the Hague is now a "real-time law enforcement operation". Nobody, she says, 
is "outside our reach. There is no immunity for heads of state."

She probably has a genuine concern for punishing inhumane acts. But she 
certainly fulfills the role designated for her by NATO's propagandists: 
Just by discussing Slobodan Milosevic as a "war criminal" in the 
international media, she adds her weight to the US/NATO smear campaign 
designed to convince public opinion that he is a monster that "must be 
stopped".

This campaign, it must be said, has been very effective so far. Justice 
Arbour cannot be unaware of it and must presumably be a willing part of it.

The war crimes being referred to the Hague tribunal are as selective as the 
USA's concern for human rights or its support for national liberation 
movements.

It is worth remembering that the original war crimes tribunal set up in 
1945 at Nuremburg dealt with the crimes of aggressors. In fact, aggression 
 the act of making war against another country  was deemed to be a 
crime in itself.

Nuremburg dealt with crimes against humanity and crimes against 
peace. Yugoslavia has invaded no one, has waged war against no other 
country.

If any national leaders should be in the dock for war crimes it is surely 
Clinton, Blair and Schroeder, for the USA, Britain and Germany have clearly 
launched a war against Yugoslavia.

They are bombing civilian homes and deliberately attempting to degrade 
people's living conditions, drinking water, and so on.

Waging war on civilians was considered a war crime at Nuremburg.

The NATO planes and missiles deliberately target hospitals, kindergartens, 
schools, ambulances; they use cluster bombs with delayed action to maim or 
kill rescue-workers. Such acts were clearly identified as war crimes at 
Nuremburg.

The Britain and the USA have been waging continual wars of aggression since 
the end of WW2: against the Greek left, against the Chinese Red Army, 
against the people of Malaya and Borneo, against North Korea, against 
Vietnam, against Panama, against Somalia, against Grenada, against El 
Salvador, against Nicaragua, against Guatemala, against Cuba, against 
Colombia, against the Philippines, against Cambodia, against Laos, against 
Iraq, against the people of Zimbabwe and Kenya  and that is only a 
partial list!

They have waged other wars through surrogates, by arming and encouraging 
right-wing factions, military "strong men" or seperatist elements. They 
have promoted terrorist massacres from Europe to South America.

In their wars of aggression they have encouraged racism and the 
perpetration of inhuman acts. Only recently, the anniversary of the Malayan 
"emergency" brought back into the limelight the notorious photos of British 
soldiers proudly showing the severed heads of young Malayan "red bandits".

In Korea, US forces routinely attacked the convoys of ambulances heading to 
and from Panmunjon to carry repatriated sick or wounded prisoners back to 
the north. They attacked and massacred POWs.

In Vietnam, anti-US villagers were forced from their homes and herded into 
US-controlled camps (euphemistically called "strategic hamlets") to clear 
whole areas of people who could "support" the "hostiles".

Massacres and murders in all three countries of Indo China were organised 
by the US as a deliberate part of its strategy for crushing the people's 
resistance.

War crimes and crimes against humanity? War is the greatest crime against 
humanity, and the imperialist countries are its greatest practitioners. 
They are the war criminals.

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