Thursday, 23 July 2009

Jobs I'd never want to do

There are many jobs that I'd never want to do. Before having children wiping another persons bottom and constantly cleaning up other peoples poo was up there. Marketing tobacco would be another. The type of jobs that are either physically or morally just a bit ick.

Radovan Karadzic was arrested a year ago and is currently preparing his defence for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. He was the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs during the war here, as opposed to Ratko Mladic, who is still at large and was their military leader. This trial, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (known as the ICTY) will be one of the biggest war crimes tribunals since Nuremberg. Expected to start in late August or early September, it will be a media frenzy as many of the events of 1992 to 1995 are relived. The charges carry a particular focus on the siege of Sarajevo and the events in Srebrenica and the media is sure to focus upon them, but many of the other charges relate to other areas of Bosnia.

Most of the people I have spoken to are relieved to see Karadzic go on trial but I should say that we live in Tuzla which is a predominantly Bosniak (that is Bosnian Muslim) area. Were we to be in Banja Luka, the capital of the Bosnian Serb area, it would be a different story.

Despite originally saying that he would defend himself (and muttering something vague about an invisible ally) Karadzic has amalgamated a strong defence team, most of whom are working pro bono.

I understand the need for Karadzic to have a good and a strong defence team. For the trial and its outcomes to be accepted by all sides, they must ensure that there are no loopholes, no ways in which his defenders might be able to say that it was rigged. He must have a fair trial, he must be able to justify his actions and show where he feels the charges are wrong. The tribunals are writing down a history of what happened and for this history to be accepted as the truth they must ensure that all sides are well and fairly represented.

I just don't know if I'd be able to stomach being his lawyer.

(For more on this story see Balkan Insight and also My soda with Radovan, written by one of his defending lawyers)


Mummy said...

I once asked a good lawyer friend who defended all manner of awful criminals, although admitedly none as bad as this, why she did it. Her response was that someone had to do it and justice of the true variety means that everyone has the right to a fair hearing, even if personally she felt many of those she defended had given up that right a long time ago.

Thanks, as always, for an update on the situation there. I hear as much about it as I would imgaine you do about the odd farmer or two being killed by the police in the rural heartlands of China. They are things we should know but are often not widely told.

(I am off my soapbox now and back to playing with lego!)

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Mummy - I know someone has to do it, and I know that a functioning society depends upon a fair judicial experience for everyone, no matter what they are accused of (and it is probably even more important that those accused of truly heinous crimes get a strong defence). But, I couldn't do it. I'm pretty sure that when his trial starts there will be a lot of stories about it in the media.

I'm getting off my soapbox now and joining you on the lego front. Or maybe I can persuade them for some quiet colouring in? I can but dream!

ck said...

I wouldn't want that job either.

SandyCalico said...

Thanks for the update.
I'll stick to wiping pooey bums thanks!

Iota said...

I find it scary that the man (if your link article is accurate) isn't a crazed lunatic, but intelligent, articulate and 'at peace'. It really does seem that genocide doesn't rely on psychopaths, but ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

I wouldn't do the job of being his lawyer either.

Anonymous said...

I agree too. I wouldn't be able to defend him, pro bono nonetheless.

It's debatable how intelligent Karadzic really is -- he's one of those people that have grandiose delusions. Although one can counter that he obviously has enough intelligence to get where he got in the '90s.

Anonymous said...

There are areas in which the lawyer has to decide for themself where the boundaries of ethical conduct lie. Demanding the DNA evidence used to identify victims buried and reburied in mass graves in order to challenge the facts of the Srebrenica genocide is a way of destroying any closure the relatives have managed to achieve. The right to a fair hearing shouldn't mean the right to force the victims to suffer again.

Thanks for your post.