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.