Letter: Prepared to yap but not to bite on Yugoslavia

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writes that the Security Council decision to set up a war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia is a political charade. The European Community has already lost much credibility in not acting on its announced intentions. The failure to enforce the no fly-zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina is an example. To set up a war crimes tribunal, which has little chance of bringing to book the real perpetrators of 'ethnic cleansing', serves to underline that we are prepared to yap but not to bite.

Last week, at a hearing set up by the European Parliament on the Bosnian rape cases, I asked the newly appointed head of the war crimes tribunal whether Slobodan Milosevic and Vojislav Seselj would be among those brought before the tribunal. The answer was negative. It was understandably so, for with whom do you negotiate if the elected President of Serbia and the head of the Serbian radical party, an acknowledged paramilitary and 'ethnic cleanser', are brought to trial?

It is time we stopped shadow boxing and started to say what we mean and intend to do. If we do not, our plans and our threats of action will increasingly be taken as of no account. This in turn will be harkened to by forces of nationalism and reaction in central European countries outside ex-Yugoslavia, and they too will believe that they can act with impunity.

Yours faithfully,


MEP for East Sussex (Con)

Cowden, Kent

26 February