Sunday, February 25, 2007

World Court To Decide If Serbia Can Be Punished For Genocide

Can a state commit genocide? Should an entire nation _ not just its presidents, generals, and soldiers _ be held responsible for humanity's worst crime?

In one of the most momentous cases in its 60 years, the U.N.'s highest court will deliver its judgment Monday on Bosnia's demand to make Serbia accountable for the slaughter, terrorizing, rape and displacement of Bosnian Muslims in the early 1990s.

But the World Court case, entirely separate from the tribunal's deliberations, is not about individuals. Bosnia says the Serbian state itself must accept blame.

It argues that Serbia's nationalist ideology incited genocidal hatred, its financial and military aid to the Bosnian Serbs gave them the tools for genocide, and Yugoslav army officers actively participated in driving out Muslims.

As am American, I am wondering of course about implications reaching back to our shores. There likely was a very good reason Bush & Cheney rejected the concept of the World Court since they knew they were going to eviscerate the line of what was considered civilized behavior.

If Serbia is found responsible as a nation of genocide, can the United States be one day found guilty of condoning torture, rejecting the rights to a trial for those who have not yet been proven guilty of a crime?

Realists might reject any attempt to make a nation pay for it's misdeeds, but I find it to be a decent sign that while some nations continue to sink further into the moral abyss, others are affirming that a nation is responsible for the crimes done in the name of the citizens who bless such amoral savagery.