Butchery at Wakefield Prison

In the morning hours of Friday, May 7, Radislav Krstic was nearly murdered. Three men barged into his cell at Wakefield prison, beat him and repeatedly attempted to slit his throat with a makeshift blade. Krstic is 62 years old and missing a leg. He is also a former general of the Bosnian Serb army, convicted in 2004 by the Hague Inquisition of "aiding and abetting" the alleged "genocide" in Srebrenica.

Not surprisingly, the media reporting on the attack have used the opportunity to harp on the Official Truth about Srebrenica and paint Krstic as some sort of bloody monster, while describing his near-slaughter as a "revenge attack." It is the same phrase that was used to excuse the terror attacks of the KLA against the non-Albanian population of Kosovo since the Serbian province was occupied by NATO in 1999.

There was no sympathy for a handicapped old man, or consternation that this could happen in a maximum-security facility. Rather, by painting it as a "revenge hit" against a "reviled" Serb convicted of "genocide," the media have made heroes out of the three Wakefield thugs. One of them is Indrit Krasniqi, a Kosovo Albanian convicted of torturing, gang-raping, and murdering a 16-year old Briton in 2006.

Wakefield is a facility for violent sex offenders, but apparently the UK government uses it to house war crimes convicts as well; in addition to Krstic, another inmate is former Bosnian president Momcilo Krajisnik.

Victim as Monster

Surprisingly little information has actually been released about the attack. All that is known is that three inmates barged into Krstic’s cell, stabbed him and tried to slit his throat with a weapon improvised from a razor blade and a toothbrush. Only Krasniqi was identified by name; the other two assailants remain unknown. Anonymous officials have told the media that "at least one of them is a Bosnian Muslim" but that has yet to be confirmed.

With few actual details at their disposal, the media have resorted to padding their stories with "facts" about Srebrenica and vicious depictions of Krstic. Just about everyone repeated the lines about "8,000 men and boys" and the "worst atrocity since World War Two" — stock phrases that inevitably appear in any story about Srebrenica. The AP even included this fanciful and entirely fictitious description of the massacre:

"At a car battery factory on the edge of town, men and boys were separated from women and girls, then hauled away, forced to strip — and shot one by one. Their wives and children were deported."

Meanwhile, Krstic himself was thoroughly demonized. The Sun called him a "Genocide Brute." Another journalist described him as a "notorious Serbian Warlord." And The Daily Mail claimed he had been "one of the most powerful men in the Bosnian Serb army, second only to General Ratko Mladic" — which is complete nonsense.

Official line was established early on, and closely followed: it was an "act of revenge." Since everyone pointed out that Krstic was a genocidal murderer, and that one of his assailants was a Bosnian Muslim, the clear implication was that the old man had it coming. Nothing to see here, move right along.

The most curious element of the attack — that all three assailants were apparently of Muslim faith, and that their method of attempted execution resembled the ritual slaughter of animals — got next to no mention. Instead, the press incessantly droned on about the Srebrenica "genocide" and Krstic’s role in it.

Guilty of Existence

The only trouble with Krstic being painted as some genocidal maniac is that he didn’t actually do anything. He wasn’t even in command of the Bosnian Serb force that took Srebrenica on July 11, 1995; he became commander of the Drina Corps only two days later, and led the attack on the other Muslim enclave in the region, Zepa, which fell on August 1.

Even a cursory examination of the actual verdict, both the original (2001) and the appeals (2004), reveals that Krstic was actually convicted of being a Bosnian Serb general at the time a massacre at Srebrenica is alleged to have happened. That is all. He was charged as a member of the "joint criminal enterprise" — an asserted, but never proven or documented, all-encompassing conspiracy to create a phantom "Greater Serbia." So, just by being a Bosnian Serb general, Krstic was guilty by default. And this, in turn, was described as "proof" that the actual conspiracy existed! Circular logic, yes, but par for the course at the Tribunal.

The Phantom Genocide

What makes the Krstic trial particularly sinister is that it wasn’t about the one-legged Serb general at all. He was merely a tool for the Prosecutors to push through a ruling that a "genocide" happened in Srebrenica. His defense, predictably, chose to disavow his role in anything that may have happened, without actually pressing the prosecutors to prove any of their claims. But since Krstic was guilty of simply existing, he was convicted — and the prosecution’s unproven allegations accepted as facts! To say that ICTY had to severely stretch the definition of the term "genocide" to make it fit what happened in Srebrenica is a colossal understatement.

A basic rule of jurisprudence dating back to Roman times is that there can be no crime without intent. But where is the intent in Srebrenica? The Tribunal has found precisely none. Instead, its judges have inferred the supposed intent from the allegations of conspiracy and mass murder. In a normal court it doesn’t matter what one believes, only what one can prove. But at the Tribunal, what the judges and prosecutors believe outweighs any evidence.

The final curiosity about the Srebrenica "genocide" is that it has no culprit. Namely, Gen. Krstic and Col. Vidoje Blagojevic were both initially convicted of it, but the ICTY itself later overturned both verdicts. Krstic was eventually blamed for "aiding and abetting," while Blagojevic’s verdict was changed to mass murder. No one — not a single person — has so far been rightfully convicted of actually committing "genocide" in Srebrenica.

Tell No Tales?

At the end of March, the Serbian parliament adopted a declaration condemning the Srebrenica atrocity. The declaration was written elsewhere, and rammed through the legislature while the country was distracted by a major sporting event. But the three-month public debate that preceded the sneak vote highlighted a mountain of unanswered questions, inaccuracies, incongruities and outright falsehoods in the official story about Srebrenica.

One of the things thus revealed is that the entire claim of "genocide" rests on the false crown witness, Bosnian Croat mercenary Drazen Erdemovic (now living as a protected witness somewhere in the West), and the Krstic verdict. Were the Krstic case to be re-examined, the "judicial fact" supposedly created by his conviction could be shown for the fraud that it is. Could it be, then, that the three would-be murderers — two of whom the press shows no desire to identify — acted not out of "revenge" as the official story would have it, but a desire to silence Krstic once and for all? Dead men tell no tales.

One Russian analyst has even speculated that the Krstic attack was a message to Radovan Karadzic, former Bosnian Serb president currently successfully battling the prosecution witnesses before the Tribunal.

If Alija Izetbegovic wanted to sacrifice 5,000 Muslims in Srebrenica for political purposes, as one of his former commanders claims, what’s a sacrifice of a Serb or three to the Tribunal and the Empire, to safeguard the Srebrenica myth?

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Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.