August 31, 2004

WE WILL NOW HEAR MR. STALIN’S MOTION TO EXCLUDE IMPROPERLY SEIZED EVIDENCE ON THE KATYN FOREST

The Milosevic trial is doing its job (Bogdan Ivanisevic, International Herald Tribune, August 30th, 2004)

Expect some fireworks Tuesday when Slobodan Milosevic takes up his own defense at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Over the last few years, as the prosecution presented evidence that the former Serbian strongman orchestrated Europe's worst crimes of the late 20th century, he used every opportunity not only to challenge the facts but to tell the Serbian audience back home that they were all victims of an international conspiracy. Now this grandstanding will take center stage.

Critics contend the process is a failure that is harming the cause of justice for the Balkan wars, rather than helping it. But although the trial is complex and difficult, it is progressing normally by almost every criterion that makes a criminal trial fair and efficient.

And that is precisely the problem.

Posted by Peter Burnet at August 31, 2004 6:25 AM
Comments

I tried many cases to verdict as a federal prosecutor. American rules and procedures are not appropriate to war crimes trials. If you wish to try Saddam Hussein, the trial should proceed as follows:

1. Judicial recognition that Iraq was a cruel dictatorship under Saddam (10 minutes).

2. Widows may testify that their husbands were never seen or heard from after Saddam clapped them in irons (a few hours to a day or two)

3. Hanging (several minutes).

Will this satisfy Western standards of due process? No. Will it be just? Yes.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at August 31, 2004 8:44 AM

Aye.

Among the many other problems with letting the mills grind slowly is that you face the Nuremburg problem -- the universe is finite, so you have only enough time to prosecute the big fish.

Stalin proposed to shoot the top 50,000 Germans -- say, everyone with military or civil rank of colonel or above.

That would have been just and efficient.

As it was, most of the criminals were not even scolded.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 31, 2004 2:49 PM

Well, Stalin had so much more experience with these kind of things, didn't he.

Posted by: Peter B at August 31, 2004 3:02 PM

Even a blind sow finds an acorn once in a while

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 1, 2004 2:52 PM
« OH, SHUT UP! | Main | IT'S THE PARTY REAGAN CREATED NOT THE ONE HE INHERITED: »