2006-03-07

While I was away

For anyone who makes the mistake of getting their news from this site, here are a few of the interesting things that happened while I was away.

There was talk that Jasmila Žbanić's award-winning film Grbavica, about violence against women during the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina, would not be shown or well received in Serbia. In fact, it was shown to a capacity audience in Sava Centar, who kicked out the far-right provocateurs and gave the director and cast a hearty ovation. Whether the film would get a similar reception in Banja Luka remains open to question, since distributors refuse to bring it there.

The convicted war criminal Milan Babić committed suicide in prison. No sane person will miss him, but his death presents problems for the prosecution in cases where his testimony would have been useful, and raises problems once again for the prison management in Scheveningen, which has failed to secure the people for whom it has responsibility before. The departure of Ali Farka Toure, in contrast, is a loss for lovers of beauty everywhere.

A court in Niš acquitted bishop Pahomije (Tomislav Gačić), who is guilty, on charges of sexual abuse of children. Prosecutors promise to bring the case to a higher court.

There was far better religious news in Bujanovac, where the local Orthodox eparchate and the local Islamic community are joining forces to, in the words of muftija Nedžmedin Saćipi, "be a true bridge between Serbia and Kosovo. The lessons we have learned obligate the Serbs, Albanians and Roma of this place to be in the service of peace, to be a model of cooperation for people of good will."

There are several other ongoing stories, including the ICJ case between Bosnia-Herecegovina and Serbia, on which I will have some comment. I'll also share some impressions of lovely Tbilisi, where I got the hat that Azra is wearing to school today.

10 comments:

Nakic said...

Hey, friend. I`m back ( Gradjanin Srbije), so please put me back on links. Thanks. ;)

Anonymous said...

"A court in Niš acquitted bishop Pahomije (Tomislav Gačić), who is guilty, on charges of sexual abuse of children."

How do you know he is guilty?

Weren't the "children" 17-year-olds - almost adult age?

Wasn't there no physical contact even in their claims, for they had nothing physical in evidence. They would have surely been physically strong enough at 17 to defend themselves or leave anyhow.

Unlike Monica Lewinsky, who had evidence to back up her accusation against President Clinton, the 17-year-olds only had their claims - and from my understanding they are saying they saw him fondle himself. Therefore they don't have to prove or show anything - not even photos.

I've heard they were being manipulated by the NGO-type outfits/people wanting to harm the church who were likely getting their ideas from all the Catholic church troubles - cases which involved real physical contact - sodomy.

Anonymous said...

Here is a recent case about abuse of boys in the Balkans with proof - photos and videotape of the dirty deeds by a US diplomat.

http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=4454195&nav=menu45_2

US diplomat prosecuted for indecent behavior in Albania

TIRANA, Dec. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- A male American diplomat alleged to have had sexual relations with several Albanian young boys during his terms here was prosecuted in the United States, local reports said on Tuesday.

According to the Albanian Courier newspaper, Stuart Moss was information attache of the U.S. embassy in Albania when he was alleged to have had sexual inter-courses with the Albanian boys, aged between 12 and 16, in his rented apartment in central Tirana.

Moss himself even recorded the indecent scenes with his own video camera, the report said.

The report said Moss' home in Virginia was raided and the videotapes found after Albanian police had notified U.S. State Department of Moss' indecent behavior.

Moss, in his 50s, is currently in bail and the Virginia state court set the date for his trial on February 3, 2006.

If found guilty, he is likely to be imprisoned for 10 years, the report said.


http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=4454195&nav=menu45_2

Albanian embassy worker pleads guilty to sex with minors, child porn

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A Manassas man who once was a State Department employee at the U-S Embassy in Albania was sentenced today to three years in prison for having sex with Albanian boys and possession of child pornography.

Fifty-year-old Stuart Moss pleaded guilty in November. Charges included sexual abuse of a minor and possession of child pornography.

Moss was assigned to the Tirana embassy by the State Department in February 2004. He was an information management technologist.

He came under suspicion in August 2004 after he declined to press charges against a 16-year-old boy who assaulted him.

Moss eventually admitted to investigators that he had engaged in various sex acts with several different Albanian boys ranging in age from 12 to 16. He also admitted taking pictures of the boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Eric Gordy said...

Welcome back, Gradjaninu! Will do.

Anonymous, thanks for your comments. When you find yourself posting entire articles to other people's blogs, this may be a sign that it is time for you to get your own.

Steve Albert said...

Eric,

About Babic

Nobody asked that he be a saint. Like a prosecution witness in a mob trial, people who testify about the inner workings of Milosevic’s war crimes machine may want to do so for reasons other than remorse.

Whether or not such a measure would have prevented Babic’s suicide, it would have been wise not to have housed him in the same jail as the people he was testifying against. He could have been offered the kind of protective custody friendly witnesses get in North America.

The fact , that nobody thought of taking this elementary precaution speaks to the lack of imagination of the people who run the ICTY.

Steve

Eric Gordy said...

Steve -- Yes, it seems that his treatment by other prisoners in Scheveningen may have been a major psychological factor. I believe that he had been serving his sentence elsewhere, and was temporarily in the ICTY facility for testimony. But I do not know whether this fact is the result of a lack of imagination, or because the ICTY registry did not have access to other facilties. Certainly, witness protection has been a constant weakness of the Tribunal. On this point, probably a lot more needs to be known about how Jovica Stanisic (released pending trial) is spending his free time.

Ed said...

Hi Eric and crew,

I just wanted to say that i've finally got around to linking to you on my blog, so I will make more effort to come here and read each day.

Take care,
Ed

Eric Gordy said...

Thanks, Ed! That blog would be:

http://balkanbaby.blogspot.com/

Everything about krompirusa, beer, and all the stuff that surrounds them.

Anonymous said...

"When you find yourself posting entire articles to other people's blogs..."

Not links to blogs, but news sites and articles.

steve Albert said...

Eric,


Who knows what causes someone to commit suicide. Perhaps Babic would have killed himself no matter what steps the ICTY took to isolate him from pressure from the people he was testifying against.

However, he was a key witness in a number of trials. It should have been obvious to the people that were tasked with protecting him that someone in his position would be under enormous pressure.

I don't know whether a lack of imagination explains the failure of the ICTY authorities to shield him from that pressure. However, it is clear that they did not.

It is also clear that protecting Babic should have been a one of the top priorities of the court. As in the case of organized crime, crimes planned by a state which does its best to hide its tracks are more easily prosecuted if one has insider testimony about how the crimes were planned and carried out. That requires that a lot of thought be put into getting cooperative witnesses and protecting them.

In any case, that’s water under the bridge. Babic is dead. Even if the Tribunal changes its policy concerning the protection of cooperative witnesses , the chance of future Babics coming forward have been diminished.

I think that the cases against Milosevic and the other people against whom Babic was going to testify are strong enough to survive his demise.

However, the prosecution in this and other cases has been deprived of the possibility of showing in greater detail how war crimes in the Balkans were organized.



Steve