CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnHOLLAND has a dirty little secret. Inrnthe North Sea resort of Scheveningen,rnthere is a prison where you can be indefinitelyrnincarcerated without trial, orrnwhere you can be delivered on the ordersrnof an ad hoc “court” that sometimes issuesrnwarrants only after politically motivatedrnarrests have been made. The courtrnis ten miles away, in The Hague, and itrngoes by the name of the InternationalrnTribunal for the Prosecution of PersonsrnResponsible for Serious Violations ofrnInternational Humanitarian Law Committedrnin the Territory of the FormerrnYugoslavia Since I January 1991.rnThe creation of the Tribunal, threernyears ago, was sought by the Clinton administrationrnand its allies in the Islamicrnworld for purely political reasons, as yetrnanother tool of pressuring and punishingrnthe Serbs. According to Susan Woodwardrnof the Brookings Institution, “thernaccusations became a servant of Americanrnpolicy toward the conflict itself,rnwhich required a conspiracy of silencernabout parties which were not consideredrnaggressors.”rnThe disapproved-of party in the Yugoslavrnwar was to be pilloried, and ThernHague was needed to give legitimacyrnand “legality” to that decision. Accordingly,rnof the 57 suspects who have beenrnindicted by the end of April, 46 werernSerbs. At the same time, the prosecutionrnseems unconcerned by the mostrnsevere crimes committed against thernSerbs, such as the largest ethnic cleansingrnof the entire Yugoslav conflict andrnkillings of civilians committed by Croatsrnin August 1995 in the Krajina.rnThe goings on at The Hague couldrnhave escaped wider scrutiny but for thernrecent case of a Bosnian-Serb general,rn61-year-old Djordje Djukic, which hasrndealt a major blow to the credibility ofrnthe tribunal. Mistakenly trusting Americanrnassurances of unhindered passagernon open roads in demilitarized areas.rnGeneral Djukic, his assistant ColonelrnKrsmanovic, and their driver were ambushedrnon January 30 by Muslim governmentrnforces near Sarajevo and taken prisoner.rnThe Muslims duly announcedrnthat they were holding the two officersrnon suspicion of war crimes, althoughrnneither the Tribunal nor the Muslimrngovernment itself had previously listedrnDjukic or Krsmanovic—^logistics officersrnwho had never commanded front-linerntroops—as suspected war criminals.rnNATO commanders on the groundrnwere furious at what they regarded as arnblatant Muslim provocation. BrigadierrnAndrew Cumming, the British officerrnwho directs the NATO force’s Joint OperationsrnCenter in Bosnia, immediatelyrndescribed their seizure by the Muslims asrn”provocative and inflammatory.” Hernstressed that, under the Dayton Accord,rnall military activities within the no man’srnland separating the government-heldrnterritories from those of the BosnianrnSerbs were prohibited.rnDjukic’s arrest caused a rare expressionrnof displeasure with Izetbegovicrnin some Western political quarters. ThernWashington Post reported that “Westernrnofficials have privately voiced oppositionrnto the arrests, saying… they came at anrninopportune time in the implementationrnof the accord and uprooted the firstrnsprouts of hope for improved ties betweenrnBosnia’s Muslims and Serbs.”rnEchoing the mood in London, thernEconomist opined that “the arrests seemrnto menace one of the peace plan’s fundamentalrnprinciples, freedom of movementrnacross the whole of Bosnia.”rnAt this point The Hague Tribunalrnobligingly came to Izetbegovic’s rescue:rnon February 6, its chief prosecutorrnRichard Goldstone “asked” the BosnianrnMuslim government to “provisionally arrest”rnthe two officers, saying it “might”rnindict them for war crimes. By the timernGoldstone came on board, Djukic andrnKrsmanovic had spent eight days in arnMuslim jail; but from that point on,rnIzetbegovic could claim that their furtherrndetention was “legal.” To the delightrnof mission creep enthusiasts, onrnFebruary 12, NATO was also included inrnthe affair, by having to provide a G-130rnto take the two from Sarajevo to ThernHague.rnAccording to Goldstone, they werernbrought to Scheveningen to be investigatedrnfor their role in the shelling ofrnSarajevo; but significantly, as the NewrnYork Times reported a day after theirrntransfer to Holland, “officials close tornThe Hague said the men may be held asrnwitnesses in other cases.”rnThe possibility of plea bargains wasrnbroadly hinted at by Goldstone himself.rnHe noted that while the two Serbs “arernthemselves under suspicion, because ofrntheir positions as senior military officersrnthey may be able, as witnesses, to providerninvestigators with important informationrnrelevant to other enquiries being conductedrnby the prosecutor’s office.”rnGoldstone’s hopes of using the Serbrngeneral as a star witness against Karadzicrnand Mladic were soon dashed. After twornweeks of being subjected to threats andrnpromises, Djukic was punished for his refusalrnto provide desirable testimony byrnbeing formally indicted on February 29.rnHe was charged with being “part of anrnoperation” designed “to kill, injure, terrorizernand demoralize the civilian population.”rnIt was soon apparent that Goldstone’srnvindictiveness was shortsighted. Evenrnthose commentators who could never bernaccused of pro-Serb sympathies foundrnthe whole episode rather sordid. EdwardrnCody, writing in the Washington Post onrnApril 7, noted the “terrible banality” ofrnthe indictment, and warned that on thisrnform hardly any 20th-century leaderrncould avoid the same charge:rnDid Harry Truman order thernA-bombing of Hiroshima andrnNagasaki “in order to kill, injure,rnterrorize and demoralize the civilianrnpopulation” of Japan? Ofrncourse he did, and for the mostrnpart, history has treated him kindlyrnfor it. Winston Churchill orderedrnthe firebombing of Dresden for thernsame awful reason.rnCody correctly noted that as a consequence,rnthe Tribunal has made itselfrn”vulnerable to already heated contentionsrnamong many Serbs that it is anrninstrument of revenge and political expediencyrnrather than justice.”rnBy the middle of April, Colonel Krsmanovicrnwas released, and it had becomernobvious that any public trial ofrnDjukic would collapse in ignominy evenrnunder the Tribunal’s own rules. At thernsame time, Goldstone was not preparedrnto eat the humble pie of relenting on hisrnindictment. He decided that the easiestrnway out was to release the ailing Serbrngeneral “on humanitarian grounds.” Ofrncourse, this was in itself an admission ofrnthe frivolity of the charges: no “humanitarian”rnconsiderations could possiblyrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn