A disturbing case. The New York Times reports on a “mini-rebellion” of judges at the UN war crimes tribunal at the Hague over an Israeli-American “president” judge who is setting the bar impossibly high so as to acquit Serbian and Croat leaders who allegedly authorized atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. A former Israeli diplomat becomes a war crimes judge. Huh.
The whistleblower in the case, a Danish judge, accuses the United States and Israel of exerting influence to make the international criminal court toothless. Reporter Marlise Simons:
Other lawyers agreed that the tribunal, which has pioneered new laws, is sending a new message to other armies: they do not need to be as frightened of international justice as they might have been four or five years ago.
But until now, no judge at the tribunal had openly attributed the apparent change to the court’s current president, Theodor Meron, 83, a longtime legal scholar and judge.
Judge [Frederik] Harhoff’s letter, dated June 6, was e-mailed to 56 lawyers, friends and associates; the newspaper did not say how it obtained a copy. In his letter, Judge Harhoff, 64, who has been on the tribunal since 2007, said that in two cases Judge Meron, a United States citizen who was formerly an Israeli diplomat, applied “tenacious pressure” on his fellow judges in such a way that it “makes you think he was determined to achieve an acquittal.”
“Have any American or Israeli officials ever exerted pressure on the American presiding judge (the presiding judge for the court that is) to ensure a change of direction?” Judge Harhoff asked. “We will probably never know.”…
In earlier cases before the tribunal, a number of military or police officers and politicians were convicted of massacres and other war crimes committed by followers or subordinates on the principle that they had been members of a “joint criminal enterprise.”
In contrast, three Serbian leaders and two Croatian generals who played key roles during the war were acquitted recently because judges argued that the men had not specifically ordered or approved war crimes committed by subordinates.
Judge Meron has led a push for raising the bar for conviction in such cases, prosecutors say, to the point where a conviction has become nearly impossible…
Is this the US imperial state or the Israel lobby at work? My suspicion is of course the Israel lobby; I think Israeli ideas of how to deal with conflict have swayed the U.S. during the great war on terror/clash of civilizations which aligns the U.S. so perfectly with the only democracy in the Middle East. Though at this point the tail and the dog are hard to distinguish, certainly no one can say that this alliance is not the geopolitical focal point, so often ignored by our media. Thanks to Donald!