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Why the ICC should Prosecute a Western Leader

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The jailing of Ratko Mladic last week, for crimes of genocide committed in Srebenica and the Siege of Sarajevo in 1995, once again reveals the inadequacy and institutional bias that plagues the international-justice system. Based on numerous treaties, statutes, conventions and also on unwritten law derived of principles established at Nuremburg, international humanitarian law is both complex and confused - and the ad hoc tribunals it has established in recent years to investigate possible breaches are unsatisfactory. It is not that Mladic does not deserve to be held to account for his actions during the civil wars that occurred after the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, but that in its selective application of the processes of justice for these atrocities, the international-justice system is exposed to the criticism that it addresses only those conflicts which suit the ends of Western powers.

Although Mladic was tried under the auspices of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was subsequently established to fulfill a wider role to examine crimes purported to have been committed during armed conflicts wherever they may have occurred. In this respect the ICC should have provided a more permanent and even-handed basis for the administration of the plethora of treaties and conventions that comprise international-humanitarian law - an acknowledgement that there are limits to human conduct even in war. This provides for protection of the wounded and sick, captured persons and for non-combatants; it prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners; and it prohibits any form of punishment. It also specifies that only military targets may be attacked in conflicts. In spite of this, we have regularly seen actions committed that appear to be in breach of all of these conditions - indeed, there is more than sufficient evidence, one would think, to require the instigation of inquiries (if not proceedings) against numerous individuals on the basis of their actions in recent and current conflicts. That the ICC was established for this purpose and yet has failed to bring a single Western politician, administrator or military person within the scope of its legal processes is damning enough, but the fact that to date, all 39 indictments it has made have been against people from the African continent, is astonishing.

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We have very slight reason to congratulate ourselves for this or to believe that our military are in possession of a superior ethic. It seems reasonable to say that of all morally repugnant acts of war, those instances that stand out to the international community in our time must surely be those committed by the West and its allies: the invasion of Iraq itself - what Arundhati Roy has referred to as "one of the most cowardly wars in history" - still stands as a beacon to Western disregard for justice and as a testament to the impunity of Western leaders to judicial accountability.

The charge sheet against the West is long and disturbing: the indiscriminate US bombing and shelling of Falluja, using depleted uranium shells in 2005, with its consequent devastation and ongoing health issues for the civilian population of the region is particularly repugnant; the incidents occurring at Abu Ghraib, the systematic torture of prisoners - including "rendering" in secret prisons, with the deliberate intention of circumventing judicial process, has rightly shocked the world; and Guantanamo Bay, where men have been held in permanent unchallenged incarceration - is silently acknowledged by much of the world to be reprehensible - except to the black hole of the justice system. Another notable candidate for the urgent attention of the ICC is the destruction and degradation of Libya carried out by the US, UK and France under the auspices of the now notorious "No-Fly Zone". Are none of these matters explicitly the subject of international humanitarian law? And what of the ongoing ethnic cleansing that has become a way of life in the territories of Palestine by Israel - surely such matters are not simply within the purview of international humanitarian law but are its very purpose?

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Reasonable people are entitled to ask if no-one is held to account for what may be the worst actions carried out in our age, then what possible justification can there be for pursuing lesser people in respect of similar crimes? Even if the catalogue of crimes against humanity needed to be prioritised for some practical purpose, it would still - one would think - result in the actions of the West taken in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan et al occupying the top of that list for a considerable period. Until these matters are addressed by the ICC, such issues as its legitimacy, scope and motives will continue to be questioned - with good reason. There may be satisfaction that Mladic is in jail, but what assurance can possibly be given that such judicial processes have been fairly applied and with proper regard to all circumstances, when equal or even far greater accusations of crimes remain unaddressed by the international community?

The ICC itself cannot be blamed for failing to live up to the expectations placed upon it and yet it suffers as a consequence when it fails to act with equal fairness to all: the way in which it has been established under the Rome Statute, 1998, has shackled it and given it an institutional bias not of its own making. For instance, the US is not a signatory to the ICC and refuses to recognise or acknowledge its jurisdiction over US political or military actions and personnel - yet the US is a major participant in the legal processes it employs against those who are subjected to ICC jurisdiction. Furthermore, it is active in gathering and furnishing intelligence for prosecution purposes. Not only is that an affront to justice, it degrades the authority and credibility of the ICC that a non-signatory power, whose acts and violations remain conspicuous in their absence from international scrutiny, may seek to serve justice on others for similar or lesser crimes.

Nor is the US the only offender: China is neither a signatory to, nor a participant in, the ICC and Russia has withdrawn its support in view of the bias it perceives in the ICC serving only Western interests. India too, has indicated that the ICC will not receive its support. Thus the ICC is dangerously coalesced in its Eurocentric base in The Hague, where ex-colonial powers still seek to impose their jurisdiction upon the ex-colonies. One senses the sheer frustration of men like Julius Malema who, in 2011, demanded to know why arrest warrants had not been issued for Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy by the ICC in view of their actions in Libya. Although Article 8 of the Rome Statute, covering "crimes of aggression", has never been ratified as a result of its frustration by the main powers - who fear it would furnish grounds for prosecution of themselves for war crimes - its neglect has simply added further weight to the argument that the ICC is fashioned to provide retributive justice against the West's enemies.

Western powers often claim that their domestic-justice systems are sufficiently robust to deal with instances of crimes of this kind, and yet experience suggests that this is not so. For instance, the acts of the UK military in Iraq and Libya have resulted in scant regard being given for criminal acts involving torture, murder and serial breaches of international law. When such cases have been (very rarely) brought before UK courts, the courts have acted sympathetically and with partiality in respect of offences - to the detriment of justice and the upholding of the law. Doubtless media and political bias and public pressure has aided their cause in defending against the proper investigation of charges against "our boys".

It is such observations as these that have caused mounting scepticism - and anger - on the part of non-aligned countries, who have come to regard the ICC as a post-colonial mechanism for bringing ex-colonial subjects within the jurisdiction of their powers. South Africa's withdrawal from the ICC in 2017, although temporary, was a sure sign of gathering clouds: it remains a stated objective of South Africa to exit the ICC and it has been joined by others including Kenya, Namibia and Uganda - which, if it happens, will surely lead to a mass exodus by the rest of Africa. That would effectively be the end of the troubled ICC and a significant blow to those who wish to see international humanitarian law properly applied across the globe.

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The idea of international justice is fraught with difficulties in concept and application, but the principle itself is sound enough: there is an international recognition that to force adherence to the minimal standards of human conduct during war is desirable and that consequently there must be a means of holding participants and combatants in such wars to account in an independent way. That this has not and is not happening is the greatest challenge facing the ICC and the cause of international justice. It is widely acknowledged as a principle of jurisprudence that equality before the law is the essence of participation: that if law is to be accepted as a common standard to which all can be held accountable, then it must extend to all in its process and application. With Western nations involved solely in its applicability to others, the judgements it delivers against those countries and individuals of whom Western powers disapprove, remain at best dubious - and at their worst, may be considered as simple retribution.

 

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I was educated at the University of Manchester, Swansea University and the Polytechnic of Wales, where I studied History, Philosophy and Intellectual and Art History (MA). I have lived and worked in Ireland, Germany and Holland and the UK as a (more...)
 

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Mark John Maguire

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Is the ICC fashioned from a genuine desire to bring justice into and to deter political and military personnel from using cover of war to indulge in atrocities? Or is it simply a means of providing a legal basis of retribution on the west's enemies? If it is to have a reasonable chance of the former, then it cannot exclusively pursue the latter. At present the ICC is widely and correctly seen as a retributive process by which post-colonial powers are able to exercise jurisdiction over colonial subjects.


Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 at 9:16:49 PM

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Paul Repstock

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Reply to Mark John Maguire:   New Content

Nothing new Mark! Remember the farce of Nuremburg??? No Americans or Brits who profited richly from finance or arms sales were ever prosecuted or even mentioned (If anyone wants smoking gun evidence of American guilt in WW II watch this documentary: .youtube.com/watch?v=0wlNey9t7hQ ) Also research, "US negotiates UN. Immunity for Americans for actions in Iraq".
Think about the response to Malaysia after their Supreme Court convicted Bush and Cheney in absentia??

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017 at 7:45:33 PM

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Mark John Maguire

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You are quite right, Paul! There is always a need for the victors to punish the vanquished, I guess - at Nuremburg they simply invented laws which seemed to reflect the anger people felt at the Nazis... I admit I have only recently become aware of the extent to which Nazi or Japanese war criminals who were deemed to be useful or of value to the US were protected from prosecution. I recall Malaysia's convictions of the Iraq war protagonists in absentia and the vain hope I felt that this might lead to something... I am quite convinced of one thing when I see ad hoc random convictions of the Mladic kind: some war criminals are punished and others are rewarded... It just depends which side you are on!

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 30, 2017 at 12:04:23 AM

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BFalcon

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Mladic is punished but too many Serbs who did crimes in Bosnia were not.

And Serbia as the real initiator is also getting a pass.

The crimes that they did in Bosnia are way more than usual war crimes.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 at 11:02:42 AM

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Mark John Maguire

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I think the problem with designating the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia as "more than usual war crimes" is twofold: 1) it is dependent on a degree of subjectivity which favours one's own perspective; 2) although what constitutes a war crime is quite well delineated, the implication that there are different degrees of crime, is not. Would we, for instance, view an act as a greater or lesser crime by virtue of how many people it impacted on - or how many lives it cost? On how long a period it was committed over or what degree of pain it caused? or even on its shock value - which is intimately related to its media impact? By almost all of these measures, the actions committed by the West in Iraq would exceed anything seen in the Yugoslavia conflicts... It seems to me that we should not try to delineate certain crimes as worthy of investigation and simply gloss over others: this undermines the principal of international justice and the very idea that crimes should be independently investigated, regardless of who the authors of such acts might be.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 at 8:40:30 PM

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BFalcon

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There are two kinds of war crimes.

One, the usual, is neglect of morality in pursuing the goal of winning. For example, this is the crime of bombing a city where there are civilians and enemies and neglecting civilian victims since your priority is to win the battle. A crime, true.

The other are crimes targeting innocent people, in Bosnia (and often elsewhere) it was done because they belong to a certain group. Serbs organized rape camps, put people in concentration camps, humiliated innocent people in most horrible ways, burnt civilians in houses and many more.

What do you say to a statement by a kid from Bosnia who didn't even grasp himself what he was saying:

"(Serbs) took my baby sister and put her into the oven. She was crying for a while and then stopped. My mom doesn't laugh since."

All the war crimes should be prosecuted. Some are more horrible than the others, Ask victims of Holocaust and genocide committed by Serbs in Bosnia.

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 at 2:25:55 PM

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Mark John Maguire

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I see your point in trying to divide war crimes between acts which are intentional and those which are the result of sloppy negligence; but it still seems to me to be an unsatisfactory and quite arbitrary division to make of complex acts. First, acts of intentional terror visited against civilian populations are a common strategy in war: for instance, is it possible to separate carpet bombing as practised by the allies at Dresden or indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Falluja in Iraq by the US (which shocked even British commanders by the scope of its wanton ruthlessness) from Serbian attacks on civilians? Both were intended to terrorise and intimidate the civilian population and it would be an odd and unconvincing argument for the defence to claim that negligence alone was to blame in any of these cases because of the lack of a substantive military target. Of course the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki also fall clearly into this category. Second, there are not simply 2 types of war crime: there are many and these are expressed in a wide spectrum of actions both before the military phase, during and after it. Certainly, negligence in war must be situated somewhere on the scale as must intentional actions. But there are many others - those affecting children, such as the child in Bosnia you cite, are especially repugnant: in this same category must be the acts of Israeli soldiers in Gaza, where the musician Brian Eno spoke of a man carrying lumps of meat home in a shopping bag - it was his son. There are no shortage of crimes against women and children in war - after all, they make up the majority of victims in all wars (as high as 70%) and are particularly defenceless. If we attempt to make a "scale of offences" in war crimes in which we ascribe motive to our own and our enemies actions then we risk fooling ourselves that "we are righteous, they are not; our intentions are good, theirs are malign." The only way of satisfying ourselves that the deaths of the innocent in wars - and all crimes committed in war - are properly addressed is for them to be examined by an impartial court. While only the actions of the losing side, who are coincidentally the enemies of Western powers, are the only ones subject to judicial interrogation we can not have any such assurance.

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 at 4:04:26 PM

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BFalcon

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If you don't see the difference between putting an innocent baby into the oven by a Serb (or raping mom and daughter by a group at the same time) and gas chambers for Jews (and making soap from their bodies) by Nazis vs. bombing of Dresden and Fallujah I can't help you. (A hint: one category does not help win the war, the other does).

Yes, there is a difference. While there is a spectrum, there are also categories.

Submitted on Friday, Dec 8, 2017 at 6:41:46 PM

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Mark John Maguire

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I don't doubt your sincerity in your assertions here, but you seem to be compounding the errors of your earlier argument: the use of specific excessive examples of a one-sided nature to prove a one-sided policy view fails for obvious reasons: it is a propagandist technique rather than an argument. We do not need to refer to mainstream media shock-value examples of "babies in ovens" to support your pro-Western argument any more than I would wish to rest my case on the little boy whose arms and legs were blown off by US indiscriminate and unprovoked attacks in Iraq: both these actions should be investigated without favour. That is the exact point. You cannot cherry pick atrocities because they are committed by your friends!

Submitted on Friday, Dec 8, 2017 at 7:38:44 PM

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BFalcon

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Mistake is all yours.

My argument is not pro-Western but pro-truth.

Each case should be judged for what it is. 'Lumping' is stupid.

When extremities are 'blown off' the real difference is whether it was 'indiscriminate' (and why) or intentional (and why).

To you if a military wants to take Raqqa and bombs knowing that civilians will be hurt too is the same as when the Serbs in Bosnia arrest people and during night take them to torture them because they are Bosniaks.

This moral 'purity' that abhors all the crimes equally is not right.

You should also understand that there is a difference between Obama's bombing and Trump's (and Russian) bombing in the level of care to avoid civilian victims but I am sure that you neglect those 'trivial' differences.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 8:38:35 PM

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Mark John Maguire

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Nonsense. Your pro-truth appears to involve inventing stories and failing to back them up. The Nazis using bodies to make soap is an especially obvious piece of Western propaganda which was refuted by the British authorities and also by Jewish experts after the war. A simply check on Wikipedia would have informed you of this. As regards the claim regarding the baby - I, as others - am unable to find any trace of this wild and revolting claim.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 9:37:21 PM

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BFalcon

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I never invent stories, do you?

Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap_made_from_human_corpses

"During World War II it was believed that soap was being mass-produced from the bodies of the victims of Nazi concentration camps located in German-occupied Poland . While not mass-produced, the production of soap from human bodies by Nazis was undertaken on small scale.[1]

The Yad Vashem Memorial has stated that the Nazis did not produce soap from Jewish corpses on an industrial scale, saying that rumors that soap from human corpses was mass-produced and distributed were deliberately used by the Nazis to frighten camp inmates.[2][3][4]

Evidence was presented at the postwar Nuremberg trials that German researchers had developed a process for the production of soap from human bodies.[5][6] "

"During the Nuremberg Trials , Sigmund Mazur, a laboratory assistant at the Danzig Anatomical Institute (modern Gdańsk ), testified that soap had been made from corpse fat at the camp, and claimed that 70 to 80 kg (155--175 lb) of fat collected from 40 bodies could produce more than 25 kg (55 lb) of soap, and that the finished soap was retained by Professor Rudolf Spanner . Eyewitnesses included British POWs who were part of the forced labor that constructed the camp, and Dr Stanisław Byczkowski, head of the Department of Toxicology at the Gdańsk School of Medicine. Holocaust survivor Thomas Blatt , who investigated the subject, found little concrete documentation and no evidence of mass production of soap from human fat, but concluded that there was evidence of experimental soap making.[17]

Testimony was given both by Nazis and by British prisoners of war about the development of an industrial process for producing soap from human bodies, the production of such soap on a small-scale basis, and the actual use of this soap by Nazi personnel at the Danzig Anatomic Institute.[5][6][18]

The prosecutor: The experiments of the Anatomical Institute in the production the soap from the corpses and tanning of human skin for industrial purposes were conducted on a wide scale. I submit a document ... to the tribunal, which consists of the testimony of Sigmund Mazur, one of the direct participants of the production of soap from the human fat, he was helper-laboratory assistant at the Danzig Anatomical institute. ...

The question: Please tell us how soap was produced from the human fat at the Danzig Anatomical institute?

The answer: In summer of 1943 in the yard of the Anatomical institute a two-storey stone building containing three chambers was built. This building was designed for the purpose of utilizing corpses and cooking the bones, as the professor Spanner officially declared. The laboratory was defined as the institution of taking down skeletons, burning meat and superfluous bones, but in the winter 1943-1944 he the year of the prof Spanner instructed us to collect the human fat which was not to be thrown away any more. This order was given to Reichert and Borkmann.

Prof Spanner gave me the recipe for the production of soap from the human fat in February 1944. According to this recipe 5 kg (11 lb) of the human fat appertained to be mixed with 10 litres (2.2 imp gal ; 2.6 US gal ) of water and 500 to 1000 grams of the caustic soda. This mixture was cooked for two up to three hours, then it was allowed to cool. Then the soap rose to the surface, while water and settlings were under it. To this mixture a pinch of salt and soda was added and it was cooked again for two up to three hours. After cooling the soap was poured into a mould.

In his book Russia at War 1941 to 1945, Alexander Werth reported that while visiting Gdańsk/Danzig in 1945 shortly after its liberation by the Red Army, he saw an experimental factory outside the city for making soap from human corpses. According to Werth it had been run by "a German professor called Spanner" and "was a nightmarish sight, with its vats full of human heads and torsos pickled in some liquid, and its pails full of a flakey substance--human soap".[19] "

http://balkandiskurs.com/en/2016/01/25/pionirska-house-silence-and-denial-in-visegrad/ :

"On 14 June 1992, 70 Muslim civilians were taken by a group of armed Serbs to a house on Pionirska Street in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad. They were locked in the basement, where the carpet beneath their feet was set ablaze. At least 59 people were burned to death.

A few days after the first fire, on 27 June 1992, in a house in Bikavac, Višegrad, arsonists lit another fire, which killed 60 civilians -- again, all Bosnian Muslims. The house in Bikavac was destroyed, but on Pionirska Street the house of death, now a memorial to the victims, remains. It is one of the few memorials that exist for the Muslim civilians murdered by Serb forces in Višegrad.

"In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man's inhumanity to man, the Pionirska Street and Bikavac fires must rank high," said presiding judge Patrick Robinson when delivering the first instance verdict for Milan Lukić and his cousin Sredoje Lukić, who were convicted of various crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). "There is a unique cruelty in expunging all traces of the individual victims, which must heighten the gravity ascribed to these crimes," the judge stated. Milan Lukić was found guilty of persecutions, murder, extermination, cruel treatment and inhumane acts and was sentenced to life in prison. He was also found responsible for the murder of 59 Muslim women, children and elderly people in the house on Pionirska Street."

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 2:41:47 PM

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BFalcon

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"There may be satisfaction that Mladic is in jail, but what assurance can possibly be given that such judicial processes have been fairly applied and with proper regard to all circumstances, when equal or even far greater accusations of crimes remain unaddressed by the international community?"

Did you invent " far greater accusations of crimes " and can you back them up?

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 3:38:47 PM

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Cathy Williams

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BFalcon: the 'making soap from bodies" is idiotic propaganda. On the quote you attribute to the brother of a 'baby in the oven' I am highly sceptical!! As others have requested: would you please provide both evidence of the incident and of the quotation which you have given very precisely. It isn't acceptable to present this sort of thing as fact that is without any basis.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 10:56:25 PM

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Wikipedia:

"Testimony was given both by Nazis and by British prisoners of war about the development of an industrial process for producing soap from human bodies, the production of such soap on a small-scale basis, and the actual use of this soap by Nazi personnel at the Danzig Anatomic Institute.[5][6][18]

The prosecutor: The experiments of the Anatomical Institute in the production the soap from the corpses and tanning of human skin for industrial purposes were conducted on a wide scale. I submit a document ... to the tribunal, which consists of the testimony of Sigmund Mazur, one of the direct participants of the production of soap from the human fat, he was helper-laboratory assistant at the Danzig Anatomical institute. ...

The question: Please tell us how soap was produced from the human fat at the Danzig Anatomical institute?

The answer: In summer of 1943 in the yard of the Anatomical institute a two-storey stone building containing three chambers was built. This building was designed for the purpose of utilizing corpses and cooking the bones, as the professor Spanner officially declared. The laboratory was defined as the institution of taking down skeletons, burning meat and superfluous bones, but in the winter 1943-1944 he the year of the prof Spanner instructed us to collect the human fat which was not to be thrown away any more. This order was given to Reichert and Borkmann.

Prof Spanner gave me the recipe for the production of soap from the human fat in February 1944. According to this recipe 5 kg (11 lb) of the human fat appertained to be mixed with 10 litres (2.2 imp gal ; 2.6 US gal ) of water and 500 to 1000 grams of the caustic soda. This mixture was cooked for two up to three hours, then it was allowed to cool. Then the soap rose to the surface, while water and settlings were under it. To this mixture a pinch of salt and soda was added and it was cooked again for two up to three hours. After cooling the soap was poured into a mould.

In his book Russia at War 1941 to 1945, Alexander Werth reported that while visiting Gdańsk/Danzig in 1945 shortly after its liberation by the Red Army, he saw an experimental factory outside the city for making soap from human corpses. According to Werth it had been run by "a German professor called Spanner" and "was a nightmarish sight, with its vats full of human heads and torsos pickled in some liquid, and its pails full of a flakey substance--human soap".[19] "

What I quoted I saw and from a reliable source. I will try to find it again but I wonder what good it will do to you.

You 'already know' that it is "without any basis", based on what? And why did you swallow everything that the author said in his article without ever doubting it.

Truth is, you are not searching for the truth, just want to prove what you already believe.

Believe me I wish this was not true but it is:

http://balkandiskurs.com/en/2016/01/25/pionirska-house-silence-and-denial-in-visegrad/ :

"On 14 June 1992, 70 Muslim civilians were taken by a group of armed Serbs to a house on Pionirska Street in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad. They were locked in the basement, where the carpet beneath their feet was set ablaze. At least 59 people were burned to death.

A few days after the first fire, on 27 June 1992, in a house in Bikavac, Višegrad, arsonists lit another fire, which killed 60 civilians -- again, all Bosnian Muslims. The house in Bikavac was destroyed, but on Pionirska Street the house of death, now a memorial to the victims, remains. It is one of the few memorials that exist for the Muslim civilians murdered by Serb forces in Višegrad.

"In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man's inhumanity to man, the Pionirska Street and Bikavac fires must rank high," said presiding judge Patrick Robinson when delivering the first instance verdict for Milan Lukić and his cousin Sredoje Lukić, who were convicted of various crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). "There is a unique cruelty in expunging all traces of the individual victims, which must heighten the gravity ascribed to these crimes," the judge stated. Milan Lukić was found guilty of persecutions, murder, extermination, cruel treatment and inhumane acts and was sentenced to life in prison. He was also found responsible for the murder of 59 Muslim women, children and elderly people in the house on Pionirska Street."

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 2:33:30 PM

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Mike Wendell

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Reply to Cathy Williams:   New Content

Well said!

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 4:00:02 PM

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Juliette Rigby

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

You have provided a direct unattributed quote of an especially disgusting kind - can you please give a reference please so that we may assess whether there is any substance to this claim you make? I can find no reference on the internet via searches...

Submitted on Friday, Dec 8, 2017 at 8:23:36 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Juliette Rigby:   New Content

Unfortunately the little boy was, if I remember correctly, quoted by the Judge Goldstone a long time ago and I didn't write it down.

There are however many examples of similar atrocities like burning people in a house in Visegrad, rape camps etc.

If you really need some I can try to find them.

But you can believe me that so many eyewitnesses confirmed these.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 8:29:39 PM

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Juliette Rigby

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

No thanks - I don't want any more invented examples. I've asked you for the reference to the quote you've given. Provide it or stfu!

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 10:03:01 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Juliette Rigby:   New Content

I never gave an invented example.

Will the reference actually change your closed mind?

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 3:45:54 PM

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Mark John Maguire

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Reply to Juliette Rigby:   New Content

Thank you Juliette - I completely agree. I am also unable to find any reference to this direct quotation this "BFalcon" has provided. But I note that his claim regarding making soap from bodies in death camps has been long established as a propaganda story. The internet is full of people using the anonymity to peddle nonsense of this kind!

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 9:42:05 PM

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Juliette Rigby

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Reply to Mark John Maguire:   New Content

Exactly! I have discovered this guy is a specialist in passing on crap. Good to see him called out for it

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 9:58:12 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Juliette Rigby:   New Content

Dear Rigby,

Your "stfu" and "crap" will not shut up the truth while documenting your manners.

What I provide is not for your benefit since you appear to be sold on a lie but for those who innocently may believe that you may be right.

I will continue searching for the quote which I saw from a reliable source about this particular claim but I will provide others with more truth so that those who want objective truth may learn about Serb crimes in Bosnia.

If you are ever serious, contact me and I can show you videos.

From: https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-FormerYugoslavia-Someone-Guilty-2010-English.pdf :

(There are more things to read there)

"This was just the beginning of a months-long period of continuous gang rapes during what was legally judged to be the crime against humanity of enslavement and rape, essentially constituting what would now be regarded as sexual slavery had this crime been within the jurisdiction of the ICTY. The trial judgment provides a glimpse of what FWS-75 and other captives endured throughout this period in its account of a two-week period that was hardly

unique: After spending a week in the apartment of one of the defendants in the Kunarac case,

Radomir Kovacˇ, FWS-75 and another captive, twelve-year old A.B., were taken to another apartment where "[t]he two girls stayed " for about 15 days, during which they were constantly

raped by at least ten or fifteen Serb soldiers." 119 Serb soldiers then took the girls to another

apartment, where they stayed "for about 7-10 days, during which time they continued to be

raped." 120 Radomir Kovacˇ ultimately sold 12-year-old A.B. and FWS-87 to two Montenegrin soldiers for 500 Deutschmarks each. 121


On December 25, 1992, Kovacˇ handed FWS-75 over to another soldier "in the almost

certain knowledge that [she] would be raped again." 122 By then, there were virtually no Bosniaks left in Focˇa, 51 percent of whose residents were Bosniaks in 1991. "

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 2:12:55 PM

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Mike Wendell

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

What a load of BS you publish, mate! Dodgy sources, no sources and invented stories add up to just about what's in your head - nothing! Try opening your mind to the truth that the Clintons waged a war on Serbia to distract from Bill's sex offences. It is Clinton, Obama and Bush who should be in the Hague facing war crimes charges, not the foot soldiers.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 4:08:01 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Mark John Maguire:   New Content

OK, I did not ever search "soap story" and I may be wrong. I know that the stories about Nazis and Jews in their camps have many gruesome details which go beyond your notion of guilt in bombing Dresden.

What I quoted I saw and I may find it again even though I don't have it now.

You don't "completely agree" with Rigby, neither of you has the right to claim that this is an invented example and I consider you better than claiming that.

And you are peddling nonsense when you equalize American leaders bombing terrorists with Serbs bombing civilians and slitting their throats just because they are not Serbs.

Do you want videos of these?

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 2:21:27 PM

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Mark John Maguire

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

I suspect we will never see eye to eye on these issues and we seem to be so diametrically opposed on these issues it is unlikely either of us would be capable of changing our minds to accommodate the other! From my point of view I see you as being reluctant to believe that Western military and leaders are capable of savage and inhumane conduct; but find it easier to believe that foreign military are capable of such conduct. In this you have the support of your government, your media and your various institutions. To me this is essentially a variation on the "we are good guys and they are the bad guys" scenario - familiar to all countries and to all wars.

This is why I do not find it helpful to cite individual examples of atrocities allegedly committed by Serbians. The reason is obvious, surely, because any atrocity you may recount for one side may be countered just as easily on the other. It doesn't take the argument very far at all if we simply sling examples of bad deeds committed by one side or another during a particular conflict. No, it doesn't mean that I equate the actions of US Presidents with those of Serbian soldiers: we are not comparing like with like. In fact the actions of Bush, Obama, Clinton and Blair are far worse than those of the military thug who carries out a cruel act under cover of war. That is because such actions always occur under cover of war - it brings out the very worst in people and atrocities are the mainstay of military conflict - on all sides. There are obvious psychological and social reasons why this occurs and we are right to discourage such conduct when we encounter it by legal redress. But that does mean that indictments need to be addressed on all sides, not simply on the one side, which is all too familiar as a means of retribution against the losers. It serves a very poor form of justice indeed when law is applied only to one group. The other reason why the Clintons et al are far worse than the mean thuggery of mere soldiers in battle is because they have provided the means for this - in fact they have made such acts a certainty because we understand very well who are the people most affected by war: it is civilians; women and children. The reason so many people, like yourself, are reluctant to see political leaders as war criminals is because so often they do not fit the bill as villain. But because Obama and Blair and Clinton can be charming and affable and are excellent communicators, it does not mean they have not been guilty of great crimes - we should not look for fangs, green saliva or a malevolent look amongst our villains, because they seldom possess these attributes. They may be sharp suited, affable - and are nearly always glib.

The first casualty of war is truth, it is often said: the kinds of atrocities which you list are familiar to both sides in all wars: the first way of girding a population to the support of a conflict is to make them hate the enemy and there is no more effective way of doing this than telling one's own people that the enemy is maiming or killing or mistreating women and children. Both sides make the same claims in every conflict and these must always be treated with caution - they are simply part of the machinery of war: propaganda. We have seen this in both WWs and in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine in the past few years in obvious attempts to secure public support for invasion/bombing or other military support. It is no surprise that such accusations tend to stick with the vanquished - but it would be foolish of us to imagine that the "good guys" always win and that this is why such crimes are always proved true against the defeated sides! This is war for children - or for how the government and media would have us view it. It has no basis in reality.

The issue I have written about is not primarily about the thuggery of war when soldiers wreak havoc on ordinary people and their lives - with all of the things you cite and many more. What I am writing about is the need to uphold law in respect of all parties - not just one side. And of even greater importance is to bring to account the facilitators or war: those who seek war as industry and enterprise, who make very large personal fortunes for themselves and their friends by manufacturing wars: these are the true criminals. These are the people who have given licence to the havoc of war with all its petty cruelties. Yes, the individual thugs need to be brought to justice, but in a room full of murderers, arresting the petty thief is both absurd and counter-productive. You may wish to exonerate your political masters and countrymen for their crimes and allude to their "good intentions", but the continent of Africa and much of the non-aligned world do not accept your one-sided tolerance. They do have a very good reason for taking such a view about the one-sidedness of Western "justice". It is necessary from the point of view of the world as a whole, that the Hague - as the hub of international justice - should seek the indictment of Western leaders to assert the principle that justice not only be done, but be seen by the world to be done.

I do agree with Juliette to this extent: perhaps you have not lied, but you have relayed an anecdote which cannot be sourced, it seems, and that is, in legal parlance, hearsay. You have further alluded to the fact of the matter emanating from a Judge: but if the Judge cannot be tested on his statement, its nature/whether or not it was simply an allegation etc, then we must assume that we are doubly damned by the incident becoming "double hearsay"! It seems, at best, highly dubious to rely on such uncorroborated accusations.

I am sorry that this has all become a bit heated - but I guess people feel passionately about such matters and cases are often overstated as a result. I do recognise the strength of your view in this matter and I shall try to look more closely at the events of the wars in the former Yugoslavia over Christmas when I have some time - perhaps it may temper my view in respect of some aspects, but I still think the central premise - that Western leaders (or any leaders and those who support them) need to be held to account every bit as we expect the casual perpetrators of atrocities to be - still holds good.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 9:45:24 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Juliette Rigby:   New Content

How about another "especially disgusting" quote (a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson) below:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/benjamin-ward-parampreet-singh/twenty-years-after-srebrenica-incomplete-justice :

"[T]housands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers' eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson. These are truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history."

Those are the words of a judge in The Hague in November 1995, confirming the indictment for genocide in and around Srebrenica against the Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and the wartime commander Ratko Mladic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 3:58:40 PM

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Cathy Williams

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  New Content

Excellent article on the unequal world of International Justice. It should be noted that the ICC & Jurists the world over are frustrated by their attempts to hold war criminals to account for their crimes. When we see a string of Serbians prosecuted on - largely - US evidence we feel cheated of the real criminals who actually profit from war. The Obamas & Clintons of this world are unlikely to see the inside of a courtroom, unfortunately....

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 10:19:00 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Cathy Williams:   New Content

The Obamas and Clintons are not criminals and strings of Serbians were.

You are supporting lies.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 2:23:18 PM

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