Madame Prosecutor

The Economist about Carla Del Ponte's memoir:
Ms Del Ponte, a Swiss prosecutor, was appointed to the tribunal in The Hague in 1999. Ruthlessly harrying the former Yugoslavs into giving up those that the court had indicted for war crimes including genocide, Ms Del Ponte became the most loathed woman in south-eastern Europe. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this memoir, which was published in Italy last year and is now coming out in English, is to see that loathing so heartily reciprocated. There are no diplomatic niceties here.

After one Bosnian Croat was acquitted of a massacre, Ms Del Ponte’s colleagues discovered that crucial evidence had been doctored. The Croats set up a whole team specifically to thwart the tribunal’s work. Croatian leaders, she notes, always made bountiful promises before resorting to “stealth and deception and attack from behind”. Citing a colleague, she concludes: “The Serbs are bastards... But the Croats are sneaky bastards.”


Most disturbing is Ms Del Ponte’s tale of how her team investigated allegations that in the summer of 1999 up to 300 people were kidnapped with the involvement of men, some very senior, from the Kosovo Liberation Army, a guerrilla group. From Kosovo they were taken to Albania where all were murdered, a small number after their organs had been harvested. The investigation failed to provide enough evidence to form the basis of a case, however. That may not be surprising: one Albanian prosecutor told her team, “If they did bring Serbs over the border from Kosovo and killed them, they did a good thing”.
Del Ponte kids you not. Such are the spirits of the Balkans. The heart of Europe, rather sadly, inherits more conniving, unscrupulous, lethal baggage from its tribal past than would befit aspiring "civilized" nations.


Popular posts from this blog

When monospace fonts aren't: The Unicode character width nightmare

Circumcision as an adult, part 1

Circumcision as an adult, part 2