Foreign Policy Blogs

Roundup: Macedonia War Crimes; Abu Zubaydah Testifies; Sudan Grants UN Peacekeepers

Macedonian War Crimes Tribunal Underway at The Hague

Roundup: Macedonia War Crimes; Abu Zubaydah Testifies; Sudan Grants UN PeacekeepersOn August 12th, 2001, 14 policemen in Macedonia destroyed several homes with hand grenades, fire, and shelling in retaliation for eight soldiers killed by a land mine. The activities resulted in the killing of seven men. This year, the deaths are the first case to go before a war crimes tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands. The former interior minister, Ljube Boskovski, and Johan Tarculovsky, a senior police official, face charges ranging from murder to cruel treatment. The UN prosecutors state Tarculovsky was part of a criminal enterprise that directs attacks against civilians, while Boskovski was responsible for the actions of the policemen who committed the acts. The policemen who committed the acts are not on trial. Both men have pleaded not guilty and their defense lawyers argue there was no war in Macedonia, and therefore war crimes charges are moot.

The scenario surrounding these actions is similar to those that occurred in the Haditha case in which US military personnel allegedly committed similar atrocities. After encountering an improvised explosive device, eight members of a US Marine retaliated against civilians in the town. The Marines have been charged with un-premeditated murder of 24 Iraqi's. They were charged according to US law. The difference here is that the conduct was committed during war time and the soldiers were not brought before an international system. It is unclear why the Macedonian case was not brought to the domestic systems there.

AP has coverage here.

Abu Zubaydah Testifies before Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Roundup: Macedonia War Crimes; Abu Zubaydah Testifies; Sudan Grants UN PeacekeepersAbu Zubaydah has denied a connection with al Qa'ida and Usamma bin Laden during a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) at Guantanamo Bay. CSRT's are the method by which that status of detainee's is determined. The US accuses Zubaydah of being a senior al Qa'ida associate and leading a terrorist training camp. In his testimony, Zubaydah said he is in fact an enemy of the US, however, he did not affiliate himself with al Qa'ida, which he criticized for targeting civilians. Zubaydah claims his statements were made under duress, and President Bush has acknowledged that the US Central Intelligence Agency used "alternative" methods to interrogate "high value" targets under CIA custody.

Washington Post has it here.

Sudanese Government Approves UN Peacekeeping Force to Darfur

The UN Security Council moved to deploy a heavy peacekeeping force to Darfur following the approval of the Sudanese government. The process to provide funding for 3000 troops, six attack helicopters, and other equipment, used to supplement the African Union (AU) force already in place was begun at the Security Council. The first phases are a support package with the ultimate goal of a robust hybrid UN-AU force. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, urged UN members to contribute troops to the contingent as the UN has no standing force of its own and must rely on the political good will of its member states.

Washington Post has more details here.



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors