Ganic Arrest – The Politics Involved
Approximately 3,000 Sarajevans protested Ejup Ganic’s arrest today. Avdo Hebib, President of the Patriots League of Bosnia and Hercegovina is summarized by Bosnian newspaper Oslobodenje to have said that the time of Beograd’s command over Bosnia Hercegovina has passed and that he would request of the Bosnian government to break all ties with Serbia and Great Britain. While Serbia’s political motivations may be clear in serving an arrest warrant, one might ask why the animosity towards Great Britain? While on the surface Great Britain’s intentions may have a flawed legitimacy when considering the Tzipi Livni fiasco last month, Great Britain’s treatment of Ganic and its continual errors in the proceedings involving Ganic are cause for concern that have been reviving Great Britain’s role in the Bosnian war amongst Bosnians.
First, I’d like to remind everyone that the arrest warrant that is issued for Ganic are for events that took place on the day that Alija Izetbegovic was kidnapped by the Yugoslav National Army. Aside from that, in order to truly grasp the situation, we need to consider some of the basic boundaries that have been crossed by the Serbian Interpol (not to be confused with the International Interpol) warrant. First, the Rome Agreement has been breached. The Rome Agreement states:
“Persons, other than those already indicted by the International Tribunal, may be arrested and detained for serious violations of international humanitarian law only pursuant to a previously issued order, warrant, or indictment that has been reviewed and deemed consistent with international legal standards by the International Tribunal. Procedures will be developed for expeditious decision by the Tribunal and will be effective immediately upon such action.”
Second, an agreement was reached between Bosnia Hercegovina and Serbia last week in which it was agreed that acts committed upon Bosnian soil by Bosnian citizens will be tried by the sovereign country of Bosnia Hercegovina.
Additionally, attempts by Serbia to take legal action against Ganic have been tried and failed. Serbia has already brought before the International Tribunal charges against Ejup Ganic in which the Tribunal found insufficient evidence. Last year when Serbia put through warrants through International Interpol against Ganic and 18 other Bosnians, those warrants were withdrawn by International Interpol due to their political nature. As a result new regulations for international warrants were implemented (para. 18). Serbia’s last resort was to put out a Serbian Interpol arrest warrant in which Great Britain has found itself in a position to oblige.
Serbia’s desperate acts for revisionism and equalizing blame can be explained with trying to appease Serbian nationalists while tensions flare over steps being taken towards joining the European Union, such as Karadzic’s arrest and trying to pass a resolution regarding Srebrenica (whose words originally included the term genocide but is now still being hotly debated with the replaced words of criminal actions) more information can be found here. Great Britain’s violations of Ejup Ganic’s rights are becoming increasingly concerning. For starters, Ejup Ganic had spent three days in confinement without being allowed to see counsel, family, or visiting diplomats. On the first court action, Ganic was not at the hearing due to court “error”. Ejup Ganic has been denied bail as a flight risk on Wednesday. Again, today after still no evidence of his crimes has been presented by Serbia to the court, Ganic’s appeal for bail has been denied. And finally, once again Ejup Ganic was not at court for his appeal – Great Britain citing lack of security for such a high-profile figure ~sigh~.
So what’s with Britain? I’m not sure, but the minute I mention Ganic and Great Britain, my Bosnian hommies are quick to point out – “yeah, it’s their fault we couldn’t defend ourselves with the whole arms embargo, and now they, like Serbia, want to make it our fault”. I basically agreed with Owen who had mentioned on a discussion board that it was more likely the government trying to save face with the Tzipi Livni incident, but am now seriously questioning this reasoning due to the manner in which Ejup Ganic has been treated since his arrest. If the goal is to save face, then why the mistreatment of Ganic?
Perhaps then, Ganic’s involvement in one particular instance during the Bosnian war does play some role in all of this.
Professor Francis A. Boyle sent out an email upon Ganic’s arrest in which he stated:
“The arrest of Ejup Ganic by the British government is all political. . . . Indeed, it was Ganic who personally helped me get the legal authorization from President Izetbegovic to sue Britain at the World Court for aiding and abetting genocide against Bosnia, as explained in the attached Note. This British persecution of Ejup Ganic is simply a continuation of the genocidal policies that Perfidious Albion has always pursued against Bosnia and the Bosnians.”
More information from the note:
“During the early morning hours of 14 September 1993, the author rose to fly to Geneva for further consultations with President Izetbegovic, Vice President Ejup Ganic, and then Foreign Minister Silajdzic. It was my advice to all three that the next step for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the World Court would be to sue the United Kingdom for aiding and abetting genocide against the Bosnian People in order to break the genocidal Security Council arms embargo of Bosnia and to stop the genocidal carve-up of the Republic pursuant to the proposed so-called Contact Group Plan.
. . . a Spokesman for the British Foreign Office said that this announcement “would make it difficult to sustain the morale and commitment of those [British troops and aid workers] in Bosnia in dangerous circumstances.” This story continued: “ForeignOffice sources said there were no plans to remove the Coldstream Guards, who have just begun a six-month deployment to Bosnia. But Whitehall would take account of whether the Bosnian threat of legal action was in fact taken to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.”
. . . several European states threatened the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina over the continuation of Bosnia’s legal proceedings against the United Kingdom . . . The basic thrust of their collective threat was that all forms of international humanitarian relief supplies to the starving People of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be cut-off if my Application and Request for Provisional Measures against the United Kingdom were to be actually filed with the World Court. For these reasons of severe duress and threats perpetrated by the United Kingdom, other European states, and David Owen, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was forced to withdraw from those proceedings against the United Kingdom by means of concluding with it a coerced “Joint Statement” of 20 December 1993.”
To summarize the rest of the note, Professor Boyle still went before the judge and explained that those filing the suit were under duress to withdraw the allegations. The judge still dismissed the case.
I’d still like to think it’s all just a part of the often messy legal system, but I’m having a hard time accepting that right now. For more information, Srebrenica Genocide Blog has a post which describes Ganic’s exemplary credentials and you can access it here.