By Grant Flaiz
Published on April 15, 1999
Unlike WWII, the Kosovo crisis is based almost wholly on ending crimes Against ethnic Albanians and capturing Yugoslavian dictator and accused war criminal Slobadon Milosevic.
While polls show strong support for the president, they also how that Americans are unsure about our involvement in the NATO effort merely because they don’t understand the magnitude of the situation. A pseudo-philosopher once pontificated to me “that most people don’t know why they believe what they believe.” There is some (albeit extremely minor) truth to that statement, and our opinions in the Kosovo crisis (and don’t say you don’t have an opinion) like any, need to be confirmed.
As Americans, we don’t get much exposure to the horrors of war except what we glean from CNN. And what Americans have gathered thus far is nothing but an endless bombing campaign that’s yielding few results with hundreds of ethnic Albanian Kosovo refugees fleeing to neighboring countries. They’re fleeing not just from NATO bombing that’s attempting to help them, but from the Serbian armies that have forced them out of their homes, destroyed their identities, and torn their families apart.
Forcing a people to leave their homes and relocate in other countries certainly constitute as crimes against humanity, but the most atrocious crime of all is the killing spree that dictator Milosevic has allowed the Serbian army to conduct in the Kosovo region. On CNN last week, I saw an entire family wrapped in cloth, their bodies riddled with bullet holes, heads bashed in, legs broken, eyes gouged out—and they weren’t just men and boys. Women and small children were lined up next to men as well.
Countless reports coming from refugees had suggested heavily that atrocities were truly being committed. I felt I needed more evidence than mere reports, but when I saw that family lined up I knew I had the evidence I needed.
Crimes against humanity are serious business, but what does it really mean for Milosevic and his cronies? It means that if NATO continues on its course of bombing the Serbs, hopefully into submission, Milosevic will face an international tribunal that handles crimes of war.
Made no mistake about the seriousness of human rights violations. If and when dictator Milosevic is captured, he will be brought forth to the international court of law in The Hague, Netherlands, where he will face an onslaught of scathing testimony and evidence that is most certainly going to convict him.
Don’t misunderstand, NATO faces an uphill battle in bringing the Milosevic government to justice. Along with capturing him, they must truly prove that he is the man responsible for the atrocities in Kosovo; just because The Hague is in Western Europe, there is still no guarantee that he can be convicted. He has the right to mount a defense just like we do here and, depending on what form of law they intend to try him on, he is generally guilty until proven innocent.
As the story unfolds, and Yugoslavia buckles under the pressure, we’ll know whether or not the world police of NATO will get their man. So watch closely, it’s a great way to get a handle on just how serious this latest crisis is.