Friday, October 13, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Two [13]


This section starts off with a decent premise: Impartial, even-handed international justice exists more as an ideal than a reality. The Nuremberg Trials were, when all is said and done, stil a matter of victor's justice (justified, in most people's opinion, including mine).

Attempts to establish permanent tribunals continually came up against resistance from powerful nations including the United States; few if any governments like to surrender sovereignty, and powerful nations rarely feel any compulsion to do so.

From this promising start, atypically grounded in a reasonable observation, Johnstone takes a predictably clueless wrong turn:

"The United States, still unwilling to support a universal tribunal, proved willing and even eager to set up ad hoc tribunals to try not only Yugoslavs, but also Rwandans, as well as Saddam Hussein and Pol Pot. This means in effect a series of Great Power tribunals to judge small countries."

[As always, underlined words in quotes were italicized in the original text.]

Johnstone and her fellow revisionists--as well as Serbian ultra-nationalists--continually confuse charges against individuals and leaders as attacks on entire groups and nations; rarely, however, is this conceptual misunderstanding so explicitly laid out.

It is unclear--to put it mildly--how charges against Pol Pot can be construed as judging Cambodia. Wouldn't the charges against Pol Pot mostly involve crimes against the Cambodian people? The same goes for Saddam Hussein, of course, although hardline Baathists surely appreciate having Johnstone on their side.

Johnstone is untroubled by this logical disconnect; later she baldly states:

"From the very start, the tribunal [the ICTY] was intended not as an instrument of unbiased justice, but as a way to punish a particular national group, the Serbs."

I eagerly await Johnstone's surely-upcoming defense of the unjustly targeted Hutus, as well. To be followed by an impassioned plea for the Janjaweed in Sudan, we can be rest assured.

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