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[ALBSA-Info] Milosevic trial must be seen as fair, papers sayGazhebo at aol.com Gazhebo at aol.com
Wed Jul 4 09:34:39 EDT 2001
Milosevic trial must be seen as fair, papers say LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - With Slobodan Milosevic hauled into the dock at The Hague, a gloating West might think it has finally defeated an arch foe. But European newspapers warned the international community on Wednesday to make sure the former Yugoslav president gets a trial that was both fair and seen to be fair. Some said the West's own past deeds would also be in the spotlight and accused it of double standards, pointing out that for years its leaders negotiated with Milosevic and still deal politely with politicians involved in other bloody conflicts. "A trial that is seen as 'victor's justice' serves neither the case of humanity nor that of political catharsis for Serbia," wrote The Times of London. It said the victors would determine the framework of the proceedings at the U.N. war crimes court, as the allies did at Nuremberg after World War Two. "But the validity of these hearings depends, crucially, on the court allowing Mr Milosevic the representation, transparency and opportunity to challenge the evidence which he and the Nuremberg defendants denied their victims," the newspaper said. Serbia handed Milosevic over last week to the Hague court, which arraigned him on Tuesday on charges related to killings of Kosovo Albanians in 1999. Indictments relating to the earlier Bosnian and Croatian wars may follow. Britain's Daily Mail, in a commentary entitled "The West on trial," said that having spent millions bringing Milosevic to court, the West must not fail now. "The tribunal is as much on trial as Milosevic himself...The chorus of self-congratulation which greeted the news of his extradition last week will ring hollow indeed if, at the end of it all, justice is not seen to be done," it commented. Milosevic will appear in court again in August but a trial is not expected before next year. WEST SHARES BLAME? Vecer newspaper in Slovenia, the republic that escaped most easily from former Yugoslavia 10 years ago, said that instead of staying defiantly silent, Milosevic should use his grandstand to show how Western leaders went along with him for so long. "He will waste probably his last chance for sharing at least part of the responsibility with those who assisted his fatal policy, either by doing nothing or with their unreadiness to intervene when necessary," its editorial said. "There is no cause for smug words about a victory of justice," wrote Germany's Berliner Zeitung. "It will quickly be shown that the trial against Milosevic will not only confront the Serbs with their recent past, but also show that politicians in the West have to face their responsibility...They will have to answer many questions." Britain's Independent said the proceedings sent a clear message to the world's despots that "a crime is a crime, whoever it is committed by." Both French and Greek newspapers questioned why, if that were the case, the West still dealt lightly with other leaders. "The sight of (Milosevic in court) should prompt European authorities to show more decency and firmness in their relations with regimes which, like that of (Russian President) Vladimir Putin in Chechnya, use barbaric methods against civilians," wrote a Le Monde columnist. The Paris paper's front-page cartoon showed a blood-drenched Milosevic wearing a butcher's apron, carrying a cleaver and saying "not guilty." One columnist in the Athens daily Kathimerini argued that the West was two-faced in its dealing with Milosevic, and illustrated his point with an imaginary but unlikely scenario. He depicted a deposed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in front of the Hague court, charged with massacring Palestinians in 1982 while he was defence minister. A new Israeli premier explained that Israel had had to extradite him or face a U.S. economic embargo. Newspapers in Russia, whose leaders backed Milosevic after the West turned against him, gave scant coverage to the trial. Izvestia said the exchanges between Milosevic and court chairman Richard May sounded like a "dialogue of the deaf."
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