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February 11, 2006
One More Year And He Gets A Gold Watch

The UN will celebrate an important and singular milestone tomorrow. Its International Criminal Tribunal will mark the fourth anniversary of the start of the Slobodan Milosevic trial. The unique aspect of this anniversary comes from the fact that the trial is still underway:

The war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic enters its fifth tedious year Sunday, and though international interest in the tribunal has waned, it has proved a useful tool in educating Serbs. ...

Milosevic is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in last decade's bloody Balkans conflict, and for four years, he has dragged out judicial proceedings with his political grandstanding and health-related absences.

The U.N. Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1993, and Milosevic was charged with 66 counts involving war crimes during the Balkan wars.

The prosecution has 293 witnesses testifying to Milosevic's war crimes and genocide, but the real timewaster has been Milosevic himself. He has avoided appearing in court, wasting 66 trial days in four years with health-related complaints. He has represented himself in court and has engaged in obstructive tactics designed to drag the trial out long enough to either outlive the witnesses or whatever interest his crimes evince.

However, a four-year trial with no end in sight has to be some kind of record. Milosevic's sick days cannot account for all of the delay. In order to get that strung out, one has to find incompetent prosecution and ineffective courtroom management from the judges. It also requires that the certifying agency give no useful direction or oversight to the court itself. Once again, the UN shows itself as a monumental waste of time and effort, and not for the first time nothing more than a stage on which the criminals and monsters of the world can manipulate nations that are too afraid to take positive action to put an end to their antics.

We'll see you around in a year, when Milosevic will gain an extra week of vacation and full vesting of the retirement benefits from his tenure at the trial.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 11, 2006 9:08 PM

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