Why not just execute Slobodan Milosevic?

So the man who brought ethnic cleansing to the Balkans is going to stand trial…in the Netherlands, of all places. I am reminded of a similar situation with Manuel Noriega; i.e. a leader of a soverign nation being tried in another nation for “crimes” which were not crimes in the time and place he committed them.

Now, I don’t doubt for a second that he’s done terrible things and should pay for them. But the idea there’s something inherently illegal, and therefore prosecutable, about his actions unnerves me. Serbia was a nation at war. Many (though certainly not all) of the Serbs themselves supported ethnic cleansing. His actions, although cruel, were not totally imappropriate given the situation; why pretend otherwise?

His arrest, as far as I’m concerned, was simply the capture of a wartime enemy. As such, he should be turned over to the military of one of the other former Yugoslav republics, who can then, um, dispose of him as the see fit. No trial necessary. Simply the fact that he’s a hated enemy is enough to warrant his death. Throughout history, deposed world leaders were often quickly put to death by the new power, even if they weren’t hated; Milosevic deserves the same fate.

“But Darrell, we can’t kill someone without a trial.” Well, I don’t recall Milosevic giving any of the victims of ethnic cleansing the benefit of a trial. Don’t give none, don’t get none. Fair is fair.

“But we’re not like bloodthirsty dictators! We’re better!” Maybe so (just maybe), but I don’t think there’d be much hue and cry if we made an example of just one bloodthirsty dictator.

Remember, too, that if he goes to trial, there’s always the chance that he’ll be aquitted or get a wrist-slap punishment. The chance of that is even more likely considering the fact that he didn’t break any of his nation’s laws (having total control over one’s country does have its priveleges). Let’s drop the pretense of “criminality”. As stated in an Ultima Online hintbook (wow, never thought I’d use that in Great Debates…), it’s a matter of honor, not justice.

So you’re suggesting that we become as monstrous as him?

Article IX of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (the “Dayton Peace Accords”):

Article XI of the Dayton Peace Accords:

“The [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] shall cooperate fully with all entities…which are otherwise authorized by the United Nations Security Council, pursuant to the obligation of [the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law.”

The Statute of the International Tribunal (“the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia”)
United Nations Security Council Resolution 827 (25 May 1993)

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1166 (13 May 1998)

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1329 (30 November 2000)
Milosevic agreed to be bound by the rules. He just never expected that he’d have to keep his word.

Much as I loathe everything Slobodan did and stands for, I believe there is far more value in his being a living example of the worst of humanity, than a dead person whose actions can easily be forgotten.

God willing, that bastard will be in a Prison somewhere in Germany for the rest of his life.

Spandau looks like a good place to put him.

(yes I know, that wasn’t really a GD worthy comment)

Not the same. The World Court, an arm of the United Nations, is seated at The Hague in the Netherlands and has been for years. You may recall the recent trial of Libyan defendants in the Pan Am bombing over Scotland was held there with Scottish judges. The trial will not involve any Dutch laws as far as I understand.

But ethnic cleansing and the related charges have been deemed “crimes against humanity”, and therefore he should be tried in the court that best represents humanity. Clearly a World Court verdict and sentence will be best heard and remembered by despots everywhere, and therefore the best hope for future deterrence which is what this exercise is all about.

MEBuckner - Ah, I see. Thanks. I’m reminded of Saddam Hussein’s little dances…agree to this, renege, apologize, agree to something else, shuffle his feet, etc. It’s truly amazing how recklessly bold some of these people are.

SPOOFE - What’s so terrible about a quick, clean military execution? Isn’t that the traditional way of disposing of enemy leaders? In this case, I suppose there’s too much politics involved to do something that simple. But it’d still be far less monstrous (not a hijack, example only, example only!) than any number of killings done by our own government purely out of self-interest (e.g. Salvador Allende).

Since the UN is involved and so much as it stake, I’m confident that justice will be done…but it still seems like a lot of pomp and circumstance for what is essentially an open-and-shut case.

Other reputations are also at stake. No matter how monstrous Milosevic is (or isn’t), the UN and the involved Western states have to be seen to be acting in a whiter-than-white manner to retain any claim to a ‘moral authority’ to act as world policeman. If the UN started executing people without trial, no matter how open-and-shut the cases against them are, the reputational damage would be enormous.

What you’re proposing ISN’T a military execution. An execution is to be preceded by a fair and just trial.

Only when necessary, such as when we made assassination attempts at Sadaam Hussein. But in that case, Mr. Hussein wasn’t already in custody.

There’s no way in Hell that Milosevic is gonna be acquitted, so why try him?

For the simple reason that the right to a fair trial is a very precious right. Every defendant has the right to one. By giving Milosevic a trial, we are showing to the world our full commitment to democratic principles.

Does this help?

AFAIK, there’s no such thing as a “military execution”. You can be killed in the course of battle or captured and tried but there is no legal option of just killing someone whom you have taken prisoner.

Sure, but then there’d be another one, and another one, and you know, when it comes to executing bloodthirsty dictators, no one can kill just one. :slight_smile: