Former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic appeared before the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague on July 3, to hear the charges of murder and crimes against humanity being brought against him. His defiance in the dock (he refused to accept the authority of the court to try him) was not particularly surprising; nor was the relief and pleasure of millions of Muslims around the world, as they witnessed the come-uppance of the man primarily responsible for the genocide of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosova, and much else beside. Nor even was the naivety of those Muslims looking forward to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon standing in the same dock.
However, there are at least two lessons in the sight for those who care to see them. The first is the remarkable skill of the West’s propaganda-establishment in rewriting history and persuading people to accept and believe the precise opposite of what they were told to believe yesterday or last week or last year. People have short memories: a few years ago Slobodan Milosevic was the man that the West was happy to do business with at the time of the break-up of Yugoslavia and again in the run-up to the Dayton Agreement of 1994, when the Serbs’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ of large parts of Bosnia-Hercegovina was rewarded with the recognition of the Bosnian Serb Republic.
While on the subject of the West’s rewriting of history in the Balkans, let us also remember that the West’s own hands in the region are hardly clean. With the UN administration ensconced in Bosnia, and NATO established in Kosova, the West would have us believe that they are the saviours of the Balkans and the enemies of fascism and nationalism in the region. Unfortunately for them, some people remember differently: how, for example, the West stood aside to allow the Serbs and the Croats to slaughter the Muslims of Bosnia and partition the country between them; and how, while the Croats were also engaged in genocide in Bosnia, the US and Germany armed them as their ‘best option’ in the region. A BBC report recently credited the US with arming the Bosnians against the Serbs; in fact the West stood aside and waited for the Bosnians to be exterminated; then, when the Croats and the Serbs failed to achieve this early in the war, thanks largely to help provided to the Bosnians by the Muslim Ummah, the West armed the Croats against both the Serbs and the Bosnians, in order to ensure that the Bosnian Muslims would not be able to establish a Muslim state in Europe. When yet another mass grave of Muslims is found in Bosnia, therefore, as one was found earlier this month, let us remember that responsibility lies not only in Belgrade and Zagreb, but also in Washington and London.
History, of course, is not the only thing that is defined by the victors; so too is justice. Milosevic may deserve any and every fate that awaits him, and so too may Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and other Serbs still sought by the Tribunal. That does not change the fact that the tribunal is a show-court established by the victors to try their enemies, and designed to ensure not justice but the illusion of justice. The fact is that justice cannot be achieved by politically-charged bodies and institutions dominated and controlled by forces that are themselves unjust.
The West’s record of abusing judicial processes for political purposes is as well-established as that of the old Soviet Union; the facts of the political incarcerations of Shaikh Omar Abdur-Rahman and Dr Mazen al-Najjar in the US are on record; so too is the West’s pseudo-judicial pursuit of the alleged bombers of Pam Am 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, and more recently of the alleged associates of Shaikh Usama bin Ladin. But the implications of the Hague Tribunal go far deeper than those of these cases, for its ‘success’ is being used to demand a standing court to try crimes against humanity wherever the West chooses.
Muslims may celebrate the arrest of Milosevic, and indulge in pipe-dreams of seeing Ariel Sharon in the same dock; but we must understand that Milosevic’s trial is simply a rehearsal for future Western attempts to try Islamic movement leaders such as Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei of Iran, Shaikh Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah of Hizbullah, and Shaikh Ahmed Yassin of Hamas as ‘war criminals’ because they dare to oppose the West’s global hegemony. Opposing the West’s fraudulent international justice then will ring false if we support it now, simply because at the moment it suits us to do so.