Sunday, August 3, 2008

In the Company of Tyrants

The opening of the war crimes tribunal against Radovan Karadzic in The Hague and the recent indictment of Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court, invites a rather unfavorable comparison to the results of the policies of George W Bush; what has become known as the ‘Bush Doctrine’.

Corporate and independent news services have been all a-buzz now that Radovan Karadzic has finally been brought to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity after hiding in plain sight for 13 years.

An amended indictment against Karadzic was confirmed on 31 May 2000, and included one count of a grave breach of the Geneva conventions of 1949, three counts of violations of the laws or customs of war, two counts of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity.

The case information sheet issued by the U.N. Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia charging Radovan Karadzic with genocide and crimes against humanity in Bosnia can be found here:

In the small office of the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica, about 20 widows watched the broadcast of the initial tribunal hearing of Karadzic.

"I have not found one bone of my children yet and there he is ... alive," said Ramiza Music, 52, who lost two teenage sons, a husband and two brothers in the Srebrenica massacre. "Today I feel there is a bit of justice in this otherwise really pitiful world."

In the Bosnian capital, Alena Tiro, 42, said: "I'm happy and sad at the same time; happy because the world seems to be not as bad as I thought so far if it forced him to the courtroom. Sad because 100,000 people he killed are not watching this.",25197,24114235-2703,00.html

A fortnight ago, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an indictment against Omar al-Bashir, the serving president of Sudan, who is also the military commander-in-chief of the country. This case sets a precedent as the ICC has never indicted a sitting head of state before.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, is confident of his case. "I believe that peace and justice should go hand in hand," he said, adding that justice can be a part of the peace process. But peace without justice cannot be sustainable. "I don't have the luxury to look away," he said. "I have evidence."

The current toll in Sudan's civil war involves hundreds of thousands killed, thousands of villages burned and millions of refugees on the verge of starvation. Al-Bashir's regular troops, along with the gruesomely helpful militias under his command, have waged an ethnic-cleansing campaign in Darfur for several years, under the pretext of a revolt by Sudanese rebels.

An estimated two million residents have been displaced and tens of thousands killed in the civil war in Sudan's Darfur region. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague says they are the victims of genocide and crimes against humanity committed by the government.,1518,565924,00.html

Considering the amount of blood on the hands of these two men is horrifying to be sure.

Pikers, I say.

Pikers and neophytes.

If one had the stones to compare body counts with George W Bush, Karadzic and al-Bashir are clumsy wanna-be tyrants and amateur despots.

With an estimated 4.7 million Iraqi refugees, and an Iraqi death toll of more than 1,250,000, George W. Bush should be ready to pack his bags and take up residence in The Hague, alongside Karadzic.

According to an extrapolation of the results of a survey published in the prestigious medical journal ‘The Lancet’, more than one and a quarter million Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of the American-British invasion of Iraq. The survey was conducted between May 20 and July 10 by eight Iraqi physicians organized through Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimated in 2006 that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq as a result of the illegal invasion in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.

The estimate, produced by interviewing residents during a random sampling of households throughout the country, was far higher than ones produced by other groups, including Iraq's government.

This estimate is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December of 2005. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.

The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died has received independent confirmation from a prestigious British polling agency in September 2007: Opinion Research Business estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since the US invasion.

More than 4.7 million Iraqis displaced and more than 1.25 million Iraqis killed as a direct result of the Bush Administration’s illegal invasion and occupation of the Republic of Iraq.

Karadzic and al-Bashi, eat your black tyrant hearts out. You are in the presence of a Master of Disaster!

Lest some apologist for GW Bush protest that whereas not all of the Iraqi deaths can be attributed to military action hence not all the dead Iraqis can be laid at the door of the White House, it should be noted that according to the principles set forth at Nuremberg by the chief American prosecutor, Justice Robert Jackson, any and all deaths, injuries and displacement of the civilian population that result from the act of invasion – the highest, most egregious of international criminal acts – must be attributed to the head of state of the invading nation and prosecuted.

Compared to the current crop of war-mongering despots, George W. Bush is without equal in the magnitude of his crimes against humanity.

In the words of the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, during his visit to the Tribunal in 1997, "impunity cannot be tolerated, and will not be. In an interdependent world, the Rule of the Law must prevail."

Let the nascent impeachment hearings proceed. Come what may, with or without formal charges of impeachment, those who seek justice must actively and diligently work toward bringing George W Bush and his Neo-con cohorts to The Hague to answer for their heinous, despicable actions before the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court.

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