Christopher Black: Against the Communication Ban for Slobodan Milošević and Vojislav Šešelj

Mr. Hans Holthuis,                                                                                                                                    December 12, 2003
Registrar,
ICTY,
Churchillplein 1,
2517 JW, The Hague,
P.O. Box 13888,
501 EW, The Hague,
Netherlands
 

Re The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic and Vojislav Seselj

 

Dear Sir;

The decision of the Deputy Registrar made the 11th of December, banning all but restricted contact between President Slobodan Milosevic and Vojislav Seselj and the outside world has unveiled before the whole world the political character and objectives of this tribunal. The decision is a blatant interference in the elections in Serbia by the United States and its satellites, including this tribunal.  It is nothing less than an attempt to sabotage those elections, to impose the will of the United States on the people of Serbia, to deny the people of Serbia the right to decide their own fate, their right to self-determination. It is a complete denial of the civil and political rights of Slobodan Milosevic, and in reality, all of us.

The “legal” rational offered for this murder of democracy would be laughable if it were not so tragic and dangerous to the world community. You state that Resolution 827 of May 25, 1993 of the Security Council was enacted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. It was not. The Security Council has no authority under that or any other Chapter of the UN Charter to create this tribunal. The tribunal exists in fact. But it has no legal existence and it has no legal jurisdiction. Those subject to its control are not prisoners of a judicial system. They are political hostages, held by force of arms and subject to forced political show trials.

This reality was established by the issuing of the indictment against President Milosevic during the illegal aggression against Yugoslavia by NATO forces in May 1999 in order to justify that war crime to the peoples of the NATO countries. It was confirmed when the Prosecutors, Louise Arbour, and her successor, Carla Del Ponte, also decided not to prosecute “persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia” as they were required to do by the “Statute” of the tribunal. They refused to prosecute NATO leaders, officers and officials, including General Wesley Clark, despite the overwhelming evidence in their hands that those leaders, officers and officials had committed such crimes on a mass scale.

So, you could not have been considering Resolution 827 when you made your decision.

You state that you considered the “Rules of Detention”. Yet those Rules themselves are without legal effect and in any event are subject to change at the whim of the tribunal.  Your expressed claim to have considered the detainee’s “individual” rights is puzzling because from the beginning of their imprisonment their rights, as expressed in several international conventions, have been consistently violated. Despite the fact they are presumed to be innocent they are treated as condemned. Despite the fact they are citizens of Serbia with full civil and political rights they are treated as if they were in exile.

The ban is a complete denial of the presumption of innocence, a complete denial of the right to a fair trial, and is a complete negation of the purported reason for creating this tribunal in the first place; to contribute to the restoration and maintenance of peace in the former Yugoslavia. But, of course the real mandate of the tribunal was and is not the restoration of peace, but the elimination of democracy and so it has proved.  It is for this reason and this reason only that this ban on communication has been ordered.  The tribunal’s true mandate is to discredit the Socialist and Radical parties in Serbia and their leaders.

However, you are mistaken in your estimation of these prisoners and the people of Serbia if you believe this will succeed. The people of Serbia and the world recognize this ban for what it is; an egregious and open interference with the expression of their popular will. They will react and there will be more support for those who believe in a sovereign and progressive Serbia.

In the result, The International Committee For The Defence of Slobodan Milosevic demands the immediate restoration of communication between Slobodan Milosevic and Vojisalv Seselj and the outside world including the right to communicate with the press failing which we will consider appropriate legal action.

Regards,

Christopher Black,
Vice-Chairman of the ICDSM
Chairman, Legal Committee of the ICDSM

Cc:President of the Tribunal, Judge T. Meron

Carla del Ponte

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