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Dutch Expert: Milosevic Has A Good Case

On 12 July, Chris Black, head of legal work for the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic (ICDSM), held a press conference. He announced that Milosevic's Dutch lawyers would take action in the Dutch courts, contesting his kidnapping and incarceration at NATO's 'Tribunal' in The Hague. Black refused to reveal the details of Mr. Milosevic's strategy. The following article from a Dutch newspaper, in which an expert on international law discusses his possible strategy, is speculation, but interesting nonetheless.

Note that the expert says:

"Strijards is of opinion the way the Tribunal has handled the extradition, has been 'very unfortunate'. The fact that the President of the Tribunal, judge Jorda, in advance and already before the lawsuit has started, to the media has declared that the extradition of Milosevic 'judicial legitimate' was, is according to Strijards unwise. 'Can you than speak of independent and impartial jurisdiction? He should have waited till the lawsuit.'"

Strijards' point is well taken; if anything, he understates. One of the main functions of the 'Tribunal' since its inception has been to issue statements and stage 'photo-opportunities' attacking the Serbs and supporting NATO. These attacks have included the crudest yellow-journalism, with Tribunal officials posing next to supposed mass grave sites and declaring that many bodies will be unearthed and that Serbian forces will be found guilty.

The 'Tribunal' has been declaring President Milosevic guilty - and NATO innocent - as far back as the bombing of Yugoslavia. For example, a few weeks before the 'Tribunal' issued its indictment of Milosevich and other Yugoslav leaders, prosecutor Louise Arbour held a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Albright.

Excerpts from that press conference are posted in 'The Love Song of Arbour and Albright' at http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/lovie.htm Suffice it to say that even before bringing so-called charges against President Milosevich, Arbour allowed herself to be used as a poster girl for NATO's virtue (she calls NATO countries her necessary "partners"!) and Milosevic's 'guilt.'

These guys don't even make a decent pretence of impartiality.

-- Jared Israel

***

HAS MILOSEVIC A CHANCE BEFORE THE DUTCH COURT?

By Gertie Schouten
Dutch morningpaper 'TROUW'
Saturday, July 14, 2001

Slobodan Milosevic has good arguments when he shortly will demand his release before a Dutch judge. That is the opinion of Gerard Strijards, professor of international criminal law at the University of Groningen.

First, Article 15 of the (Dutch) Constitution says that no one can be hold in detention, other than on basis of the Dutch law or judicial order, something that is not applicable on Milosevic.

Second, according to Strijards, Milosevic can allege that he has been illegally 'kidnapped from his country. His extradition to the Yugoslav Tribunal is namely in violation with Article 2 of the (Dutch) Constitution, the Yugoslav law, and also Article 5 of the European Treaty of Human Rights, in which is laid down the right for every person to at least one time to appeal before a court, before his removal.

Nevertheless, Strijards expect that the District Court, and in higher appeal the Federal Court and the Supreme Court will declare the case non-receptive, on the basis of the charter of the United Nations. Article 103 of the Charter - a 'guillotine-regulation' - stipulates that UN-regulations take precedents of the Dutch law, no matter the Dutch constitutional principles.

However, it becomes interesting according to Strijards, when the lawyers of Milosevic in about a year of two, after all Dutch procedures have been finished, will end at the European court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. I this court there are also many judges from Eastern Europe and many of them are very critical of the Yugoslav Tribunal.

This court could possibly decide that the detention of Milosevic indeed is in violation with fundamental rights. That could bring The Netherlands in a very difficult judicial position, when the European court demands his release against the wish of the Tribunal.

Strijards is of opinion the way the Tribunal has handled the extradition, has been 'very unfortunate'. The fact that the President of the Tribunal, judge Jorda, in advance and already before the lawsuit has started, to the media has declared that the extradition of Milosevic 'judicial legitimate' was, is according to Strijards unwise. "Can you than speak of independent and impartial jurisdiction? He should have waited till the lawsuit".

The lawyers of Milosevic have said last Wednesday also to challenge the legality of the Tribunal before the Dutch court, because it is created by the UN Security Council and not the General Assembly.

According to Strijards, this argument will not have a chance with the Dutch judge. "He will not judge that."

Further Reading:

1) 'Milosevic Kidnapping to be Challenged in Dutch Courts' at http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/blackpc132.htm

2) "Milosevic: 'I Am the Moral Winner!'". Report from Chris Black on his meeting with Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague.
http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/bl982.htm

3) "Reichstag Fire Trial, the Sequel," by Jared Israel. Biting account of Slobodan Milosevic's appearance the the 'Tribunal.'
http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/point1.htm

4) 'Arbour and Albright: Lovie-Dovie While Bombs Fell on Belgrade' Excerpts from a joint press conference by Louise Arbour and U.S. Secretary of State Albright, 1999.

Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/milo/lovie.htm

In this press conference, held while NATO bombed Yugoslavia, "Arbour allowed herself to be used as a poster girl for NATO's virtue (she calls NATO countries her necessary "partners"!) and Milosevic's 'guilt.'"

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