Written by: Andy Wilcoxson

On Wednesday, September 27th the Hague Tribunal sentenced Momcilo Krajisnik, the former speaker of the Bosnian-Serb Assembly, to 27 years in prison.

Krajisnik was accused of crimes against humanity and genocide. The trial chamber cleared him on the genocide charges, but convicted him of crimes against humanity including murder.

The trial chamber concluded that crimes were committed during the Bosnian war, but it could not directly link Krajisnik to a single one of them. As the speaker of the Assembly, Krajisnik did not have a single soldier or policeman under his command, nor did he have any control over the judiciary.

In order to convict the highest ranking Bosnian-Serb in the Tribunal's custody, the Trial Chamber had to find a way to hold him criminally responsible for the crimes allegedly committed by Bosnian-Serb troops on the ground. To achieve this objective, the Trial Chamber found that Krajisnik had participated in a conspiracy, or "joint criminal enterprise", aimed at the expulsion of non-Serbs from Bosnian-Serb territory.

According to the judgment, "On the facts of this case, the Chamber finds joint criminal enterprise to be the most appropriate mode of liability. Therefore, other forms of liability charged in the indictment were not further considered."

The crown jewel of the Tribunal's case that a conspiracy existed, and that Krajisnik was a participant, is a statement that he made in front of the Bosnian-Serb Assembly. The Tribunal's judgment claims that, "Mr Krajisnik gave the go-ahead for the expulsion programme to commence during a session of the Bosnian-Serb Assembly when he called for, 'implementing what we have agreed upon, the ethnic division on the ground'".

Taken alone that statement might sound incriminating. What the Hague's judgment fails to mention is that Mr. Krajisnik made that particular statement on March 18, 1992. March 18, 1992 is a very important date in Bosnia's history, because precisely on March 18, 1992 the Cutileiro Plan was adopted.

The Cutileiro plan was signed by Alija Izetbegovic on behalf of the Bosnian-Muslims, by Radovan Karadzic on behalf of the Bosnian-Serbs, and by Mate Boban on behalf of the Bosnian-Croats. The Cutileiro plan was named for Jose Cutileiro, the Portuguese diplomat chosen by the European Community (EC) to bring Bosnia's feuding ethnic groups to the negotiating table.

The Cutileiro Plan envisioned the cantonization of Bosnia along ethnic lines. The Muslims would control the cantons where they were the majority population, the Serbs and Croats would control the cantons where they were the majority population, and the Sarajevo canton would have a special status. The Cutileiro Plan was never implemented because Alija Izetbegovic withdrew his signature ten days after signing the agreement.

However, when Mr. Krajisnik was speaking to the Bosnian-Serb Assembly on March 18, 1992, everybody was still on board with the Cutileiro Plan. When he called for "implementing what we have agreed upon, the ethnic division on the ground" he was referring to the Cutileiro Plan which had just been signed earlier that same day.

Obviously the "we" in Mr. Krajisnik's statement refers not only to the Bosnian-Serbs, but also to the Croats, Muslims, and the EC who had all just agreed to the Cutileiro Plan. The plan called for precisely the ethnic cantonizaton of Bosnia, or you could phrase it like Mr. Krajisnik did and say "ethnic division on the ground".

Anybody with a brain can see that Mr. Krajisnik was calling for the implementation of the Cutileiro Plan, not the implementation of some mythical Serbian conspiracy.

The Trial Chamber knew perfectly well that Mr. Krajisnik was speaking about the Cutileiro Plan. The Prosecution called a witness named Dragan Djokanovic to testify against Krajisnik, and that prosecution witness told the Tribunal point blank that Krajisnik's statement referred to the Cutileiro Plan, not to the implementation of a Serbian conspiracy.

Mr. Djokanovic said, "this portion of Mr. Krajisnik's speech, when taken out of the context of the entire speech there seems to indicate that the parties that were part of this agreement are still in -- dubious, we don't know who they are. But when you look at it, this is obviously part of the Cutileiro Plan agreed upon by the three ruling party under the auspices of an international presence, in this case, the European community." [Krajisnik Transcript; 17 March 2005; Pg. 10661]

By taking Mr. Krajisnik's statement out of context, the Trial Chamber has deliberately and maliciously led the public to believe that Mr. Krajisnik was calling for the implementation of a criminal conspiracy, when in reality he was calling for the implementation of a peace plan negotiated by the international community.

By convicting Mr. Krajisnik with such a malicious and wrongful interpretation of the evidence, the ICTY Trial Chamber has laid bare the anti-Serb agenda of the Hague Tribunal. The Hague Tribunal has lost all moral authority to accuse, let alone try and convict, any Serb of any crime.

The only criminals in the courtroom when Momcilo Krajisnik was convicted were the judges and the prosecution staff. They condemned an innocent man to what will very likely be the rest of his life in prison.

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