Lesson 1 in autoamnesty

Having resigned his ministry in disgrace, Andrija Hebrang is turning to the former sociologist turned horsie spokesmodel Slaven Letica to score a few points with his country's far right. The two want to propose a declaration to be passed by the Croatian Sabor for the tenth anniversary of "operation Storm" declaring in retrospect it and everything that happened in it to have been legal. The reasoning is that the action was an "allied defense against terrorism."

Lesson 1 in autoamnesty: the amnesty should apply to charges. Hebrang and Letica are clearly influenced by their colleague Bozidar Delic, who told Hague prosecutors today that whatever he had done must have been legal because "we had the right to self defense." These kinds of statements work nicely for public opinion where the perception that ICTY defendants are being tried for having participated in war at all is popular. What was illegal in 1995 and 1999 and remains illegal now is the expulsion of civilian population: not the military action itself but its conduct.

No comments: