Milosevic is dead. Hooray?
Like John Howard, I won’t be shedding any tears over Slobodan Milosevic, whose death, apparently from natural causes, has been announced.
An obvious question raised by his death is whether (and how) his trial on a variety of war crimes charges could have been accelerated. The fact that he will never be properly convicted is certainly unfortunate. Even if it would have had no short run impact on opinion among Serbian nationalists, it would have helped to set the historical record straight. Milosevic’s death increases the urgency of capturing his main instruments, Mladic and Karadzic, whose connection to the crimes of the Bosnian war is more immediate, and whose trial could drive home the evil of Milosevic’s policies.
Still, the long trial in The Hague is better than the alternative on offer in Baghdad, where Saddam Hussein, whose wars cost millions of lives, is being tried, and may be executed, for a comparatively minor crime, but one which is politically convenient for the purposes of victors’ justice.