February 20, 2002

The Belgians are generally regarded by other Western Europeans as bumbling 
goofs. Indeed, one easy way to get a laugh in a French sit-com is simply to 
have one of the characters speak in a Belgian accent.

This reputation was not helped by a huge scandal in the mid 1990s involving 
a child sex, slavery, and murder ring. When the alleged ringleader, a 
certain Marc Dutroux, was arrested in 1995, it was found that the 
authorities had failed for months to act on numerous tips, hints, and bits 
of evidence pointing directly to him in numerous high-profile child 
disappearances -- indeed, the local police had apparently suppressed 
certain evidence, possibly as part of a turf conflict. The delay had 
directly resulted in the murders of at least two young women, the high-
profile disappearances of a number of young girls, and the burying alive of 
one of Dutroux's male associates whom he feared had become unreliable.

When the prosecution failed to move forward in the case, the Belgian public 
quickly became suspicious that something was up and that their rulers were 
hiding something. Their distrust was inflamed by revelations of a wild orgy 
organized by one of Dutroux's alleged accomplices, which, it was later 
revealed, was attended by many high-ranking police officials, judges, 
politicians, and even a minister of the European Union, who brought along a 
young blonde women named "Jojo the Bomb."

The best part, however, came later, in 1998, when during a trip to the 
courthouse, the cop guarding Dutroux fell asleep on a bench. Dutroux took 
his gun and hijacked several cars. He was quickly caught, however, because 
(1) he was instantly recognized wherever he went and (2) the cop's gun 
wasn't loaded.

The evidence against Dutroux is overwhelming. Homemade dungeons and the 
bodies of three of his victims were found on his property, he had no 
visible means of support, a couple of young captive girls were rescued from 
his house, and so on and so forth. However, after almost seven years, 
Dutroux has yet to be put on trial, with the result that thousands of 
Belgians have angrily demonstrated in the streets demanding action.

With a record like that, you'd think the Belgian judicial establishment 
would want to keep a low profile for a while. You'd be wrong. Under a new 
law, the Belgian courts have taken it upon themselves to extend their 
jurisdiction to people anywhere in the world, whether connected to Belgium 
or not, for "human rights violations" on charges brought by anybody, 
Belgian or not. This has led to a bit of a problem for Israeli Prime 
Minister Ariel Sharon: some Palestinians have brought suit against him in 
Belgium for his involvement in the massacre at Sabra and Chatila in Lebanon 
in 1982.

The massacre was carried out during Israel's invasion of Lebanon, by 
Israel's allies the Maronite militias. Israeli forces surrounded the camps, 
preventing escape for several days while the Lebanese systematically 
murdered hundreds of unarmed civilians:


You can see a collection of horrifying photos of victims of the massacre
at the following website:


New evidence has recently come to light that survivors of the massacre were 
taken to a ruined sports stadium in Beirut by Israeli soldiers and secret 
police, for interrogations from which they never returned. Robert Fisk, 
reporter for Britains Independent, was there, and offers a chilling 


The Israeli Supreme Court found later that Sharon, who commanded the 
invasion as Defense Minister, was "indirectly responsible" for allowing the 
massacre -- but it came to its decision without hearing evidence from 
Palestinians. Enough evidence exists to make it fairly certain Sharon knew 
about these horrors while they were happening, and that they couldn't have 
happened without his approval. Sharon was forced to resign, but, well, now 
he's Prime Minister.

The Belgian case could have caused some real embarrassment for Sharon, as 
the Palestinians would have the eyes of Europe on them (if not those of the 
United States, owing to our news media's lack of curiosity) as they brought 
out all their evidence, including eyewitness accounts by survivors. Key 
evidence was to have been given by the intelligence chief of the Maronite 
militia at the time of the massacre, a man named Elie Hobeika. However, 
two days after Hobeika told two Belgian senators he would testify against 
Sharon, he was coincidentally killed by a huge car bomb as he prepared to 
go snorkeling:


Later investigation revealed that the car came from a Lebanese town that is 
known as a center of Mossad --Israeli intelligence -- activity.

As it turns out, however, Sharon needn't have worried. In a convenient 
landmark decision on February 15, the hilariously-named International Court 
of Justice, only a few miles away in The Hague, ruled that Belgium had no 
right to issue an arrest warrant for Yerodia Ndombasi for "crimes against 
humanity." Ndombasi is a former foreign minister of the Congo, and he was 
charged with "inciting hatred" in speeches, leading to the massacres in 
Rwanda in 1994:


According to the president of the Court, Gilbert Guillaume, the court 
"concluded that there existed no exception under international law to the 
rule establishing immunity from criminal process before foreign national 
courts," and that the investigating judge "was not entitled to hold himself 
competent in respect of the offenses in question relying on a universal 
jurisdiction not recognised by international law."

Just so. Sharon is off the hook -- and, just as important, so are George W. 
Bush for the bombings and other killings of civilians in Afghanistan, Bill 
Clinton for the deliberate destruction of civilian targets in Serbia and 
Sudan, and other Western bigwigs and former bigwigs -- including George's 
old man -- who otherwise might be vulnerable to having their crimes gone 
over in court before a fascinated world. All of them will be spared the 
embarrassment of having grubby little victims dragging out messy little 
facts and allegations about their noble deeds in defense of "democracy" 
and "freedom."

On the other hand, that slavering personification of ultimate Evil, former 
designated Hitler Slobodan Milosevic, is definitely not off the hook (note 
that the International Court was careful to say "foreign national courts"). 
Milosevic is facing something called the International Criminal Tribunal 
for Yugoslavia, also in The Hague. Leaving aside the absurdity of the very 
concept of "international law," this "tribunal" has no authority to exist, 
aside from the fact that it does. It was set up by NATO with no 
authorization from the UN or any other institution having the slightest 
pretense to international jurisdiction. On top of that, the United States, 
the Tribunal's primary sponsor, has, for decades, refused to acknowledge 
the legitimacy of an international criminal court!

According to Jared Israel, of the website "The Emperor's Clothes," the 
prosecution opened its arguments by playing a "made for TV fictional 


That should give you a flavor of what Milosevic is facing. The "judges" on 
the "court" have openly acknowledged their dependence on the United State 
for operating funds. This is a "court" that allows the prosecution to hide 
evidence from the defense. It uses secret indictments. It has no provision 
for habeas corpus -- no bail for the accused, and victims can be held for 
90 days without being charged. Hearsay evidence and anonymous witnesses 
are allowed, and alleged confessions while in custody are automatically 
held to be legitimate unless the prisoner can prove otherwise (fat chance). 
Lawyers have been barred from representing their clients because they were 
found to be "unfriendly to the Tribunal." The prosecution and the "judges" 
fraternize openly, and the "judges" make prejudicial statements to the 
press. In short, if you come before the Tribunal, the cards are stacked 
against you:


The obvious question is, if the point of the Tribunal is to establish guilt 
or innocence, why are these Draconian rules necessary? And the obvious 
answer is, the actual guilt of its victims is not important. Milosevic's 
real crime, of course, is that he opposed the United State's efforts to 
expand its influence in Yugoslavia. And the fact is that all sides in the 
nasty conflict in the Balkans have committed atrocities. It's just that 
some of those atrocities have had the sanction of the Empire and its 

What is important is that Milosevic and the other Serbs brought before the 
court (along with a token Croat or two) must be found guilty in the eyes of 
the world, to legitimize the criminal conduct of the United State in 
prosecuting an undeclared war against the Serbian people. That war included 
arming and training terrorists -- the Kosovo Liberation Army -- who even 
today are murdering and terrorizing the small remnant of desperate Serbs in 
Kosovo (and who, incidentally, have close ties with the current designated 
Hitler, Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda). It also included bombing 
civilian targets -- passenger trains, radio and TV stations, markets, 
roads, water and power installations, the occasional hospital, and so on 
(not to mention the Chinese Embassy) -- in sum, destroying the 
infrastructure necessary to the continued existence of a civilized society. 
All of which is illegal according to the Geneva Convention, and all of 
which has pushed the Serbs into utter destitution and despair.

A report by Human Rights Watch on the bombing is available at the 
following address:


Milosevic is giving the Tribunal a run for its money, however. He is 
treating it as it deserves to be treated, with utter contempt, and in his 
opening statements in his own defense has accused the court of fabricating 


According to Mr. Israel, fabricating evidence is exactly what the
prosecution has done:

> The prosecutor showed footage of what seem to be men imprisoned 
> behind barbed wire. These pictures have been used before. They 
> were taken by an ITN film crew in 1992. Photographs were 
> compiled from this footage and broadcast around the world, 
> purporting to prove that the Serbs had set up a death camp at 
> Trnopolje in Bosnia....
> What the Tribunal did not show was the rest of the footage from 
> the movie  -- where you can witness Penny Marshall and the other 
> members of her ITN film crew setting up their cameras inside a 
> chicken wire and barbed wire enclosure.
> Some refugees came over to see what was happening. Penny 
> Marshall [the director of the documentary -- yes, that Penny 
> Marshall] talked to them and filmed them through the wire, thus 
> producing footage that made it seem these men were fenced in. 
> The film was then further doctored to create the "feel" of a 
> Nazi death camp.
> In the movie, JUDGMENT, one can hear Penny Marshall pressing 
> the Muslim refugees to say they are being abused. The man she 
> is interviewing resists her pressure. "No no," he says. "They 
> treat us good. It's a refugee center."

Then there's the supposed massacres of Kosovo Albanians that triggered the 
U.S. bombing campaign. Those have since been shown to be faked, as I 
pointed out in my article on this site: Serbian ethnic cleansing scare was
a fake, says general.

Unless I miss my guess, Milosevic is finished. His heroic attack on the
Tribunal -- possibly the only heroic or decent thing he has ever done -- 
will be lost in the fog. During his opening statement the "court" has 
allowed him free rein to say what he wishes -- no doubt to head off 
accusations of unfairness. But I have no doubt that when this "trial" 
actually gets under way, his attempts to defend himself will be suppressed: 
just as in the show trials behind the Iron Curtain in years past, this 
"court" has the charming habit of turning off the defendant's microphone 
when it doesn't want certain things heard.

Note that I am not saying Milosevic isn't a killer. He is, after all, a 
politician who ran a nation-state. I'm just saying that whatever crimes he 
may have committed have nothing to do with the laughable proceedings of 
this ridiculous "court."

Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon can continue to go about his business of genocide 
against the Palestinian people, free of any worries about retribution for 
current or past crimes. Such is the nature of "justice" in the era of the 
American Empire.

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