(Video primarily in Serbian although the judge speaks in English.)
Readers of yesterday’s post, which quoted Rory Stewart questioning the ability of the UN and similar organizations to do much of anything, might’ve detected a hint of disappointment. This view was informed in some measure by the inability of the UN to prevent carnage in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. That drama is still being played out at the ICTY in the Hague, and although there are sometimes questions to be raised about the institution, when it convicts those like the former assistant minister of the interior Vlastimir Đorđević of crimes against humanity and war crimes it is redressing a real wrong.
Đorđević, as assistant minister of interior, was head of Serbia’s police forces and paramilitaries who played an active role in using violence and intimidation to force Kosovars out of their homes and off their land. In additional to charges of mass killing, the judge also brought up the removal of the victims’ bodies to mass graves inside Serbia proper, and sentenced Đorđević to 27 years’ imprisonment.
Belgrade’s silence on the matter bodes well for Serbia’s European future.
Perhaps international justice comes out ahead of international development here because the results are so much easier to measure. One can debate the merits of the sort of justice it is, but for those familar with Kosovo and the Milošević regime, Đorđević’s sentencing is just.
The ICTY’s indictment of Đorđević can be found here. Names of the victims, including the 47 members of the Berisha family who were killed on a single day in March 1999, can be found in Schedules A-L, pages 25-48.