Monday, May 16, 2005

Government using "tricks" with ICTY indictees' guarantees - Macedonian commentar

Text of commentary by Daut Dauti entitled "Political Tricks" published by the Macedonian newspaper Dnevnik on 14 May

The Kosovo government, along with the UN chief administrator [in Kosovo, Soeren Jessen-Petersen], provided guarantees for Ramush Haradinaj [former Kosovo prime minister accused of crimes against civilians] to defend himself while free.

Is it because of this case in our neighbourhood or because of some other motives that the Macedonian government has also decided to provide such guarantees for "its own people"? It has decided to give guarantees so that former Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski and Johan Tarculovski, former Lions [disbanded special police unit] commander, can defend themselves while free. People say of this: Everyone with his own people.

However, can the case of Ramush Haradinaj be equated with that of the former MVR [Macedonian Interior Ministry] officials? I do not think that this would be fair. First, Ramush Haradinaj went to The Hague voluntarily in order to face Carla Del Ponte's [chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia - ICTY] indictment. Upon his departure, he told his supporters and the other Kosovo citizens not to make a scene, because there was no need for it. He received the "invitation"; he prepared his own "blanket"; he bid farewell from Pristina airport like a great politician who is sacrificing himself for his nation and he boarded the plane. The media presented this act as his sacrifice for an independent Kosovo. He departed for the final stop, The Hague.

The Kosovo authorities (that is, the government, UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo], and the Council of Europe [CoE]) then provided guarantees for him.

As for Ljube Boskovski and Johan Tarculovski, especially the former, their case is different and is related to trust. When Ljube was accused of the Rastanski Lozja case [when Macedonian special police forces killed seven Pakistanis and an Indian, supposedly terrorists, in 2001], he hid from the Republic of Macedonia's justice and showed his loyalty to Croatia. He even fled there, because he thought that he would be better able to deal with the charges there. What would have happened if Ljube had been in the country when Carla Del Ponte sent her message? Most likely, a circus or a (political) fair would have taken place. Therefore, guarantees should be given to those who deserve them.

Let us ponder a bit why the government is now using such - let us say - tricks. (It seems as if the prime minister [Vlado Buckovski], who sometimes wants to keep fit by playing soccer, had learned a trick from the best Macedonian soccer player, Bora Nikolic!) Nevertheless, not much attention should be paid to all these tricks. This refers in particular to the ruling Albanian party and the Albanians themselves. They should not make a drama of this and say: "Boo, they killed our civilians, but the government gives them guarantees." In politics, the walls are not always white, and the devil is not always black. I see nothing scary in this, so my commentary may be entitled "Everything is possible in politics" (without using an exclamation mark at the end).

However, on the other hand, it is good both for Macedonia and the government that Ljube went to The Hague as a Croatian national. He escaped to his second homeland (because he did not recognize the judiciary of his original homeland), so we now have a problem concerning principles. If someone does not recognize his state, he should seek help in another place. Thus the state itself is freed of any moral and material obligations towards such a person. This is why Macedonia should have neither offered help for their lawyers, nor provided guarantees.

There is also another dimension about whether, with its decisions, the government also wants to stand behind the crimes of which the defendants are accused. Perhaps it wants to legitimize the acts that not a single country would support, even if they were done for its protection.

I would like to conclude that anyone who does not see politics in these moves must be naive. With such activities, the government wants to subdue the feelings of some Macedonians who believe that "the defenders are being tried, but the government is doing nothing." Actually, they cannot affect the Hague tribunal's verdict. Despite the offered guarantees for Boskovski and Tarculovski (which part of the public that supports them certainly hails), I think that the government secretly "keeps its fingers crossed" that they are not released, because of the former interior minister's unstable character.

Source: Dnevnik, Skopje, in Macedonian 14 May 05 p 28

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