Mladic is arrested. Finally. hurray ?

Serbia has arrested Ratko Mladic, former Bosnian-Serb army commander, during the wars of the dissolution of Yogoslavia. Mladic, nicknamed the 'Srebrenica butcher' for his role in the Srebrenica Massacre, is expected to stand trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for war crimes.

But while so many will talk about the triumph of the international justice system, I wish to disagree. Although it might be that Mladic will be sentenced and punished for the heinous crimes he has lead, this entire affair, proves once more, the current inadequacy of the international justice system, in the face of its challenges.

First, Let us not forget: the Srebrenica Massacre was enabled after a peace-keeping force was defeated by the Bosnian-Serb army. The International community promised a secured shelter to Muslim refugees, and when the real hour of threat came, the small forces the International community was willing to allocate were easily forced to surrender, and thus the massacre was enabled.

Second, Justice is coming late. Very late. Although better late than never, the immense difficulties the international community had in bringing former-Yugoslavia criminals to justice make it clearer than ever for future criminals - there is a real chance of committing crimes against humanity and escape punishment. (I will return to this point in a short while).

Third , despite the International Tribunal mistaken concepts and past findings, this was not a genocide. This was a massacre. Both are heinous crimes against humanity, but The murderers were careful to kill only the men and male youth in the Srebrenica Massacre and send the old, the women and the younger children away. The mix-up of terms and contents might be  helping the International community feel better with itself (we are actually sentencing genocide villains) but it is misleading past and future victims of horrible violence who may develop the false sense of security, that there is someone out there to be trusted.
You don't believe me ? lets check another International Tribunal. That of the Rwanda genocide. Recently Augustine Bizimungu ,the Rwanda army chief at the time of the genocide, has been convicted of crimes against humanity. He has been acquitted of the crime of genocide for lack of evidence. Augustine Bizimungu was sentenced to 30 years. Two of his accomplices were sentenced to 20 years each. Another accomplice, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who was also found guilty of crimes was released "as he had already spent 11 years in jail". The reasons for these relatively short term punishments (prosecution requested life sentences), was the limited control these senior officials had over their subordinates. Does appear as justice ? We are talking about the most senior officials of the security forces of Rwanda at the time of the genocide, a land in which during 3 months 800,000 murders took place, and many more attacks that ended with injuries and maiming, attacks whose victims bear the scars to this day.

This recent is a demonstrative failure of the international law to provide justice.

And if we remember that the refugee problem, 17 years after the genocide, still has not been fully solved, and people are still being repatriated, and it isn't clear whether they are true refugees, needing the protection of the international communitee (and not receiving it), or genocidaires, still active at spreading havoc, undeserving the ongoing concern of ngo's like amnesty, and bear that in mind as we read the news about Mladic's capture, it might set our anticipation for justice in clearer, much less optimistic, much more suspicious state of mind.

The international community has to prove its ability to provide justice. Not just talk nicely about it. And until the time when this proof is amply supplied, potential victims of violence, massacres and genocide, all over the world, had better avoid reliance on international forces, and trust only themselves.

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