Monday, March 13, 2006



So, the current theory concerning the origin of the antibiotic to treat leprosy and tuberculosis found in Milosevic' blood is that, er, Milosevic took those drugs himself (which counteracted the blood pressure meds he was taking) in order to become really, really ill, subsequently be sent to Moscow for treatment and never come back. Fortunately the Tribunal found out just in time and heroically stopped his going to Moscow. Then he dies. Oops.

Leaving aside for a moment questions about how long the Tribunal knew of the presence of rifampicin (I'm seeing different timescales in different news stories), and how on earth Milosevic is supposed to have gotten hands on those meds (he was supposed to be in prison - wasn't he?) - doesn't this sound like a really convoluted, hare-brained plan? Why not simply spit the blood pressure meds out? Why not, if he got his hands on rifampicin, take something less risky?

Also, if the most high-profile prisoner at the Hague is able to get rifampicin, what stops just about anybody there from simply taking an overdose of sleep medications?

Sorry, but all of this sounds simply too ridiculous to be true.

I don't believe he was deliberately murdered or being poisoned either, mind you. If someone wanted to poison him, why choose such a complicated method?

My guess is that he was handed the wrong medications by accident. Never underestimate simple stupidity.

Meanwhile, the fact that he attended a trial lasting more than five years without getting convicted is a sad commentary on the Hague Tribunal. You can't lock up someone for five years without sentencing him. Not even Milosevic. And courts should act to find whether the defendant is guilty - as speedily as possible. That's their only reason to exist. Not to bring closure to the victims - that should be, ideally, the result of the work of a court of law, but it cannot be its stated aim. Not act as a body of historical research. They should get a truth and reconciliation committee or something for that. And finally. War criminals from the former Yugoslavia should be tried in Zagreb, Sarajevo and Belgrade, not in The Hague, which is thousands of kilometres from where those war crimes were committed. It's the people of the former Yugoslav republics that should preside over the prosecution of those crimes. Not "The International Community", whatever that is.

At least the Americans seem to have learned enough to place the trial of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, where is should be.

It barely makes sense for it to happen in a hospital, let alone a prison.
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