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2006.03.20. – John Kraljic

Jean raises
the question which is essentially whether it is a good or bad thing
for Milosevic to have died prior to the end of the trial.
I am coming down on the side that it is a good thing. I do not believe
that the verdict at the ICTY (and we can never know whether the
verdict would have met with our expectations) would have changed
anything. Milosevic alive remained a galvanizing force for Greater
Serbian nationalism and continued to exert influence in Serbia.
His shrill supporters in the West would have continued to defend
him no matter what the verdict was.

He will certainly have an influence dead as Jean points out, but
(I hope) it will be substantially lessened after all the news stories
end this week. In any event, at least with respect to "screen
media" the coverage I saw on Saturday (CNN, French news, and
ABC and NBC in the US) all focused on him and Serbia and only mentioned
Croatia as a victim. Given our world’s short attention span, I tend
to think that this will more or less not change (print media will
likely be a whole other story).

In terms of justice, an American friend noted to me yesterday that
most victims of crimes just wish that the perpetrator would die
as the trauma of going through a trial makes them relive the crime
while waiting for the "wheels of justice" to slowly grind.
The same could be said here – all the ICTY did was to allow Milosevic
a platform for defending himself to the world rather than allowing
the overwhelming evidence speak for itself.
Ultimately, I believe and I hope that the legacy of his death (as
opposed to his legacy of his political career) is to emphasize the
bankruptcy of the ICTY. It is scandaleous that he has been in jail
for over 5 years and despite the prognistactions of Carla del Ponte
(and we all know how accurate her predictions were when it came
to telling the world that Gen. Gotovina was certainly in a monastery
in Croatia) that the trial would end this summer, I think it would
have continued for years on end. with appeals, etc.
On Josip’s point – a friend in Croatia once told me why he voted
for Tudjman. Someone in Zagreb told him not to vote for Tudjman
as he was thickheaded and "bezobziran." My friend said,
"well then I will vote for him because we need someone like
that to defend us from Milosevic." A great example of cause
and effect!
John Kraljic

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