Remember Slobo?

Interesting info coming out of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes:

Four years ago next week, the trial of Slobodan Milosevic opened at The Hague. It was, we were told, "the most important trial since Nuremburg". But after making the world's front pages in its first week, the trial has slipped quietly off the radar. That's a great pity, because proceedings have been far from boring.

Take the case of prosecution witness Ratomir Tanic, an "insider" who claimed to be present when Milosevic gave the order for the expulsion of Albanians from Kosovo. Tanic couldn't even say what floor Milosevic's office was on and was revealed to be in the pay of British intelligence.

Then there was the testimony of Rade Markovic, the former head of the Yugoslav secret service. Markovic was supposed to spill the beans on his ex-boss, but instead claimed to have been subjected to a year and a half of "pressure and torture" to sign a document prepared by the court. And, in a further blow to the prosecution's case, a Muslim captain in the Yugoslav army testified that he had never seen - or known of - any harassment of Albanian civilians in Kosovo.

In making his defence, Milosevic has sought to expose the level of Western collaboration with Islamist militants in the Balkans. He has shown a video of Lord (Paddy) Ashdown, inspecting Kosovan Liberation Army weapons and promising members of the group that he would "do his best" to procure assistance. He has also produced an FBI document detailing the extent of al-Qaeda involvement in the region. Anyone who has followed the trial would be entitled to ask why our government sided with Muslim extremists, the very people we are told now are our deadly enemies.
But of course, Danish cartoons are much more important than this.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.