Updated, longer version follows.
The United Nations Human Rights Council last night named the three members of the international commission of inquiry to investigate possible war crimes by Israel during Operation Protective Edge. The three-member panel will be chaired by Prof. William Schabas, a controversial Canadian expert on international law who reduced himself to a genocide denier.
Prof. Schabas has, on numerous occasions, questioned and denied the Srebrenica Genocide. The 1995 massacre is a judicial fact recognized as Genocide first by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and subsequently by the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court. The holocaust survivor, Theodor Meron, was a presiding ICTY judge in Prosecutor v. Krstic case, a landmark trial in which the tribunal handed down its first genocide conviction. The excerpt from the judgment reads:
“Among the grievous crimes this Tribunal has the duty to punish, the crime of genocide is singled out for special condemnation and opprobrium… The gravity of genocide is reflected in the stringent requirements which must be satisfied before this conviction is imposed. These requirements – the demanding proof of specific intent and the showing that the group was targeted for destruction in its entirety or in substantial part – guard against a danger that convictions for this crime will be imposed lightly. Where these requirements are satisfied, however, the law must not shy away from referring to the crime committed by its proper name. By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the forty thousand [40,000] Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity. The Bosnian Serb forces were aware, when they embarked on this genocidal venture, that the harm they caused would continue to plague the Bosnian Muslims. The Appeals Chamber states unequivocally that the law condemns, in appropriate terms, the deep and lasting injury inflicted, and calls the massacre at Srebrenica by its proper name: genocide. Those responsible will bear this stigma, and it will serve as a warning to those who may in future contemplate the commission of such a heinous act.”
Prof. William Schabas has shown himself to be very biased and his credibility was questioned by the highest international courts. He offered his “expertise” in the field of genocide to Serb defendants in the “Srebrenica Seven” case. On 19 May 2008, the Prosecution filed the Notice, in which it requests the Trial Chamber not to admit the Report and proposed evidence of Prof. Schabas, challenging the relevance of the contents of both his Report and his proposed testimony. The Prosecution contended that the purpose of Serb defendants to call Prof. Schabas to testify was “to espouse its preferred legal analysis of one of the crimes with which the Accused are charged through the historical background of the notion of genocide” which “would usurp [the Trial Chamber’s essential function in interpreting and applying the relevant law.” [See: Decision on the admissibility of the expert report / testimony of Professor Schabas AND Decision on the request for reconsideration of… Professor Schabas]
He also attempted to influence judges in landmark genocide trial.
Prof. William Schabas is a very close friend of Judge Carmel Agius and Judge Kimberly Prost. The two judges deliberated the landmark genocide case known as the “Srebrenica Seven.” The accused in the ‘Srebrenica Seven’ trial include Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic, Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero.
On on 22 May 2008 Judge Agius publicly revealed his conflict of interest due to his personal relations with Prof. Schabas. Here is what he said (read carefully “how close” judges and genocide-distortionists can really be):
“… We wanted you to know that Professor Schabas is and has been a very close personal friend of mine and of Judge Prost for a long number of years, not that it mattered much to us, but we wanted you to know about this. We understand that this has been brought to your attention, both Defence teams and interested Defence teams and Prosecution, and that according to you, there is nothing that you wish to state on the matter. In other words, that no further action is needed. That is what we have been told. So I’m just putting this down in the record and for the record.” [ICTY Court Transcript]
In his book “War Crimes and Human Rights: Essays on the Death Penalty, Justice and Accountability,” page 847, Prof. Schabas publicly denied genocide at Srebrenica:
“The summary execution of the men in a community, coupled with the expulsion of the women and children, is a horrific crime against humanity. Nevertheless, if the theoretical construct of the crime of genocide proposed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and endorsed by the International Court of Justice is to be sustained, it would have been more consistent and coherent to conclude that Srebrenica, too, was not an act of genocide. Both the Yugoslavia Tribunal and the International Court of Justice seem to want to have their cake and to eat it too, espousing a rigorous legal analysis of the elements of the crime but nevertheless bowing to the crowd by acknowledging the most outrageous act in the entire war to rise to the level of genocide.”
The rebuttal to Prof. Schabas’ logical inconsistency in the above paragraph can be found in the Radislav Krstic Appeal judgment, and we will quote directly from it, read carefully:
“The decision not to kill the women or children may be explained by the Bosnian Serbs’ sensitivity to public opinion. In contrast to the killing of the captured military men, such an action could not easily be kept secret, or disguised as a military operation, and so carried an increased risk of attracting international censure. In determining that genocide occurred at Srebrenica, the cardinal question is whether the intent to commit genocide existed. While this intent must be supported by the factual matrix, the offence of genocide does not require proof that the perpetrator chose the most efficient method to accomplish his objective of destroying the targeted part. Even where the method selected will not implement the perpetrator’s intent to the fullest, leaving that destruction incomplete, this ineffectiveness alone does not preclude a finding of genocidal intent. The international attention focused on Srebrenica, combined with the presence of the UN troops in the area, prevented those members of the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army] Main Staff who devised the genocidal plan from putting it into action in the most direct and efficient way. Constrained by the circumstances, they adopted the method which would allow them to implement the genocidal design while minimizing the risk of retribution.”