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NATO says The Hague Tribunal (or ICTY) belongs to NATO. The Tribunal says they and NATO are Partners.

Documents assembled by Jared Israel
[2 July 2005]

Is the Hague Tribunal (ICTY) a neutral body? Below are excerpts from two documents, which support the charge that it is not.

1. Excerpts from a NATO press conference held by Jamie Shea, spokesperson for NATO during the bombing of Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, and Major Gen. W. Jertz.  In this excerpt, Mr. Shea explains to a reporter that NATO decides whom the Tribunal investigates, and whom it does not.

2. Excerpts from a 30 April 1999 press conference held by Louise Arbour, then Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY (the Hague Tribunal) and Madeline Albright, then U.S. Secretary of State. 


1. Press conference conducted by NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea and Major Gen. W. Jertz.
Brussels, 17 May 1999


NATO held this press conference on 17 May, while it was bombing Yugoslavia. Below is the excerpt where Shea says NATO controls The Hague Tribunal. For the full text of the press conference, with this part highlighted, go to 

[Excerpt from press conference starts here]

Question: Jamie, I wonder if you could comment on a speech made by Justice Arbour of the International Criminal Tribunal last week, a copy of which I left with your very fine secretary so that you would have reference to it. Judge Arbour in her speech said that as a result of the NATO initiatives [a charming euphemism for 'bombing' - Jared Israel] being initiated on 24 March the countries of NATO have "voluntarily submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of her court whose mandate applies to the theatre of the chosen military operation and whose reach is unqualified by nationality and whose investigations are triggered at the sole discretion of the prosecutor who has primacy over national courts." Does NATO recognise Judge Arbour's jurisdiction over their activities?

Jamie Shea: First of all, my understanding of the UN resolution that established the Court is that it applies to the former Yugoslavia, it is for war crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

Secondly, I think we have to distinguish between the theoretical and the practical. I believe that when Justice Arbour starts her investigation, she will because we will allow her to. It's not Milosevic that has allowed Justice Arbour her visa to go to Kosovo to carry out her investigations. If her court, as we want, is to be allowed access, it will be because of NATO so NATO is the friend of the Tribunal, NATO are the people who have been detaining indicted war criminals for the Tribunal in Bosnia. We have done it, 14 arrests so far by SFOR, and we will continue to do it.

NATO countries are those that have provided the finance to set up the Tribunal, we are amongst the majority financiers, and of course to build a second chamber so that prosecutions can be speeded up so let me assure that we and the Tribunal are all one on this, we want to see war criminals brought to justice and I am certain that when Justice Arbour goes to Kosovo and looks at the facts she will be indicting people of Yugoslav nationality and I don't anticipate any others at this stage.

[My emphasis - JI]

[Excerpt from press conference ends here]

Transcribed by M2 PRESSWIRE (c) 1999. This is archived in Lexis-Nexis and other specialized media search engines, available at many libraries. To see the quotation in context of the full transcript, go to


2. Joint Press Conference
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Justice Louise Arbour, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Washington, D.C., April 30, 1999


by Jared Israel

[You may skip my comments and go to the excerpts from the press conference.]

When this press conference was held, at the end of April 1999, NATO had spent five weeks bombing Yugoslavia, which had not invaded or even threatened any other country. NATO intensively bombed civilian targets. When Radio-Television Serbia (RTS) broadcast coverage of the resulting carnage, NATO bombed the RTS studios as well, killing 16 employees. Later, the government that NATO installed in Serbia in October 2000 arrested the head of RTS, charging him with criminal responsibility for those 16 deaths.

According to public statements made on 14 April by General Wald, the Pentagon media spokesperson, NATO attacks on civilian targets could not have been carried out in error. See, "How the Pentagon Unwittingly Admitted NATO Leaders are Guilty of War Crimes against Yugoslavia," at

In the 30 April press conference, Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor for an organization that presents itself as a tribunal concerned with war crimes, made no reference to NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslav civilians. Her concern was with supporting NATO's accusations against Yugoslavia.

In this highly visible forum, US Secretary of State Madeline Albright instructed Arbour to indict Yugoslav President Milosevic. Said Albright:

"Well, obviously, the question of what is going to happen to Mr. Milosevic is a subject that is very much on our minds, and Justice Arbour knows what we have said both publicly and privately; that she and the Tribunal need to follow out the trail of evidence to its conclusion. We, as I said, are supportive of her efforts."

As you will see in the excerpt below, instead of rejecting Albright's instructions (which instructions would have constituted gross interference in the Tribunal's independence if the Tribunal had any) Arbour implied that if NATO wanted Milosevic indicted they'd better come up with more funding and give the Tribunal more help gathering (or, to be accurate, fabricating) evidence.

I have also posted three excerpts in which Arbour refers to NATO countries as her 'partners,' including in providing the Tribunal with information. So we have the coalition which attacked Yugoslavia providing 'information' based on which the Tribunal decides whom to indict for alleged war crimes during NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia.

What year did you say it was? 1984?

If you wish to read the full text of the Arbour-Albright press conference, it is, as of 1 July 2005, still posted at:
In case they take it down, our backup is posted at

--Jared Israel
Emperor's Clothes



 Excerpts from Arbour-Albright Press Conference

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Justice Louise Arbour, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Joint Press Conference
Washington, D.C., April 30, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State


As of 1 July 2005, the full transcript of the press conference is still posted at
If it gets taken down, our back-up is posted at

Part A is an excerpt consisting of an exchange between Arbour and Albright on the indictment of Milosevic.

Part B consists of three excerpts in which prosecutor Arbour talks about her NATO partners.


A) Arbour and Albright on indictment of Milosevic



Justice Arbour and I today discussed how the United States can provide more information to the Tribunal, and how to speed up delivery of potential evidence to The Hague. I assured her that we are asking Congress for additional resources for the Tribunal to meet new demands for investigations in Kosovo. And we discussed other needs of her investigations, which I am not going to get into, but which I assure you that the United States will do everything we possibly can to meet.

We are also thinking ahead to the Tribunal's needs after the fighting stops. We have consulted with Justice Arbour and begun planning for how we could facilitate access by Tribunal investigators to crime scenes in Kosovo.

The Tribunal now needs real-time support for its Kosovo investigations, and the United States is determined to give it. The world needs to know exactly what is happening there, and we are committed to helping discover it. Milosevic's victims, and those everywhere who love justice, need to know that there will be no impunity for those who commit these heinous offenses. And we're committed to helping the Tribunal ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

Justice Arbour.

JUSTICE ARBOUR: Thank you. I don't have a statement. I think I'd rather turn to your questions, except to say that I've had very fruitful discussions. We had announced a few weeks ago that we now need unprecedented assistance, in order to respond to the kinds of allegations that are coming out of Kosovo in a time frame that will make our work relevant. The discussions I've had in Germany, in the United Kingdom, here, and that I hope to have in France next week, are very much a part of our effort to obtain this kind of assistance. I'm happy to say that the support that is promised to us is starting to materialize, and I hope that it will permit us to face this massive flow of information and organize it in a coherent fashion that will allow us to discharge our mandate in a real-time environment.

QUESTION: Did you discuss an indictment of Slobodan Milosevic, and did you discuss reports that Justice Arbour is planning to leave this position; and what is the US view of that?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, obviously, the question of what is going to happen to Mr. Milosevic is a subject that is very much on our minds, and Justice Arbour knows what we have said both publicly and privately; that she and the Tribunal need to follow out the trail of evidence to its conclusion. We, as I said, are supportive of her efforts.

She and I did not personally discuss the subject of -- it is my understanding. We talked about the challenge of the position. I was there when she was chosen as prosecutor, and I made very clear to her our tremendous support for the work that she has done and will continue to do. She is a great public servant, and someone that the international community has the highest respect for.

JUSTICE ARBOUR: You know that I've taken the position that it's inappropriate in my office to single out individuals as targets for investigations. The discussions that we have, both privately and publicly, are focused on our desire to bring the evidence forward at the highest level of political and/or military responsibility.

We are here, and elsewhere, to ensure that we get the assistance to move the cases forward in that direction. Whether it points to any particular individual, I think the law is very clear: there is no immunity before our Tribunal for heads of state. There's no immunity, essentially, for any individual, both in a personal or a command responsibility position. All our discussions take place in that framework.


The full text of the press conference is still posted at:
Our backup is at


B) Louise Arbour on Hague Tribunal Partners

1 - Arbour: "We have long-standing relationships with [NATO] information providers. We are now looking at trying to accelerate the flow of that kind of information and the quality of the product. Of course, we're doing so at a time where that the collection capacity of all these potential providers is taxed by the need for them to collect information relevant to their efforts in the region.

"So we are, of course, competing with other interests at a time when we're trying to get access for information for our purposes. It's a dialogue and a partnership that we have to maintain."

2- Arbour: "I can assure you that one of the main subjects of discussion that I raised -- not only here but in all the capitals that I visited recently -- is the need for an immediate, very robust arrest initiative in Bosnia.... I believe that what will ...have a very immediate impact -- would be the demonstration that we have the capacity to investigate and we have partners who have the political will and the operational skills to execute arrest warrants even in hostile environments."

3 - Arbour: "There's no question that we would like to access the largest number of pieces [of information] and to have the capacity to process this information. As I said, I think we've now put in place mechanisms that allow us, in partnership with many others who are in the field in Albania and in Macedonia, to try to process refugee accounts and, from our point of view, select those who will provide the best base for a court case that will be reflective of the magnitude of what has transpired."

Excerpted from the Albright-Arbour press conference. Aas of 1 July 2005, the transcript is still posted at:
The Emperor's Clothes backup is at

Further Reading:

Yugoslav professor Kosta Cavoski has written a series of articles on the Hague Tribunal:

-- In 'The War Crimes Tribunal vs. Gen. Djordje Djukic' at
and '
The Mistreatment of Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic' at
Professor Cavoski deals with the torture and physical destruction of Serbian 'defendants'.

-- In Illegal Origins' at
Professor Cavoski analyzes the Tribunal's legal rationale or lack of same.

In 'Learning from the Inquisition' at
Professor Cavoski describes the practices of the Tribunal, which violate ordinary legal guarantees.

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