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8622: Focus: Who could follow Slobodan into the dock? Baby Doc Duvalier among others! (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Focus: Who could follow Slobodan into the dock? Milosevic's trial in The
Hague could pave the way for other vilified rulers. How would they fare?
Raymond Whitaker is the judge
Independent on Sunday - United Kingdom; Jul 8, 2001


The World vs Slobodan Milosevic. When the trial proper of Yugoslavia's
former leader begins in The Hague, probably next year, international justice
will be seen to be done more clearly than at any time since the Nuremberg
trials in 1945-49.

Last week's initial appearance by Milosevic at the UN war crimes tribunal -
the first time that a former head of state has been put in the dock - means
the possibility of others following him is now more real. Milosevic's
supporters insist that what is happening to him is "victor's justice", but
only starry-eyed idealists would ever imagine that power politics plays no
part in the process. Without Western pressure, no war crimes suspect would
ever have reached The Hague.

But we will have to wait until the permanent International Criminal Court,
agreed in 1998, is ratified by more countries before more heads of state
suspected of outrages can be charged. Even then, under Article 11 of its
constitution, the court will not be able to hold retrospective hearings. Of
course, this does not preclude the establishment of separate tribunals in
country-specific cases along the lines of The Hague Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia, the Arusha Tribunal for Rwanda and the recently created special
tribunal for Sierra Leone. Each of these courts has retrospective

Under the proposed statute for the ICC, leaders would not be able to avail
themselves of the defence of sovereign immunity (Article 27). That is a plea
made by a head of state or former head of state who finds himself subject to
the jurisdiction of a foreign court. International courts are not "foreign"
courts for these purposes since they represent the will of the international
community and not simply one state.

One reason for the delay in ratifying the ICC is that Washington is refusing
to go along with it, fearing that a president, say, might be indicted for
his role in Nato action. Another objection to the ICC is that its prosecutor
would roam the world like a sheriff. But human rights campaigners are
encouraged by Milosevic's appearance. We present here a guide to the leaders
they would most like to see follow him into the dock.

The suspects

General Suharto

Ruled Indonesia for 32 years after driving out Indonesia's founding
president, Sukarno, in 1966. Regime characterised by brutal domestic
violence in the 1960s, illegal annexation of East Timor in 1975, and
murderous response to overwhelming Timorese vote for independence in 1999.

Prosecution case: Attack on East Timor was an international armed conflict.
Atrocities committed were widespread and systematic. Forces committed acts
of murder "with intent to destroy ... a national, ethnical, racial or
religious group".

Defence case: Challenge the difficulty of proving intent for purposes of
genocide, and establishing a chain of command leading from East Timor to the
highest levels of the Indonesian state.

Verdict: Genocide.

Punishment: Life sentence.

Baby Doc Duvalier

Accused of human rights abuses - torture, ill-treatment and disappearances
in Haiti, 1971-86.

Prosecution case: Enforced disappearance of persons is a crime against
humanity. Had responsibility as head of state.

Defence case: Focus on lack of evidence of his responsibility in chain of

Verdict: Crimes against humanity.

Punishment: Life, or 20 years.

Robert Mugabe

President of Zimbabwe. Acts of political violence. White farmers forced to
flee. Oppression of political opponents.

Prosecution case: Commander can be held responsible for the actions of his
subordinates if he failed to prevent criminal acts.

Defence case: Deny role in, and responsibility for, violence.

Verdict: Not guilty.

Punishment: None.

Ariel Sharon

Involved in actions against Arab communities as an Israeli soldier.
Prosecution case: Complicity in offences under criminal law. Aggression, war
crimes and crimes against humanity.

Defence case: Acted in self-defence during 1967 and 1983 wars and during
invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

Verdict: Not guilty.

Punishment: None.

General Pinochet

Ran Chile from 1973 to 1990. Alleged to have orchestrated notorious
intelligence service (Dina) operations responsible for torturing and killing
thousands of Chileans. Arrested in UK in October 1998. Held in London until
March 2000. Former-head-of-state immunity from prosecution set aside by
Lords. Extradition to Spain failed on medical grounds. Could face new
prosecution in Chile.

Prosecution case: Evidence that he ordered acts of torture and encouraged
others. Assuming this torture was committed as part of systematic attack on
civilians, he could be convicted of having ordered the commission of crimes
against humanity.

Defence case: Challenge proof that there was any structure of command with
him at the top.

Verdict: Crimes against humanity.

Punishment: 20 years, but life not inconceivable.

President Idi Amin

Up to 300,000 people murdered, including judges, politicians, civil
servants, religious leaders and students, during his rule of Uganda in
1971-79. One million people widowed and orphaned. Routine floggings,
electric shocks, physical mutilations and drownings.

Prosecution case: Focus on evidence of his individual responsibility for
acts of murder (crime against humanity), torture (crime against humanity)
and persecution on ethnic, religious or political grounds (crime against
humanity). If tribunal chooses to characterise the Ugandan situation as
civil war, he could also be charged with war crimes.

Defence case: Challenge whether he was responsible for hideous acts
committed by soldiers under his command.

Verdict: Crimes against humanity.

Punishment: Life sentence.

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