July 9, 2009

Last update: July 17, 2009:
Send your protest letter to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Ask them to remove Judge Christoph Flügge from Radovan Karadzic case and from all other cases involving the charges of genocide. Phone: +31 (0)70 512 8752, 5343, 5356; Fax: +31 (0)70 512 5355; E-mail: press@icty.org.


The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB) an umbrella organization representing the interests of 350,000 American and Canadian Bosniaks, is shocked and confounded with the statements made by Judge Christoph Flügge, of the Hague Tribunal, to the German weekly magazine “Der Spiegel” in which he openly questions the Srebrenica genocide.

According to the article, Judge Flügge states that “the term genocide to define these crimes is unnecessary” instead preferring to refer to it as “mass murder”.

He claims that there is no reason to differentiate between “a group that is murdered for their nationality, religion, ethnicity, or race, as is regulated by the Hague Statute” and a group that “happens to be gathered at a specific location”.

CNAB requests a complete retraction of the statement made by Judge Flügge given the fact that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has already confirmed, in several cases including the 2007 ruling against Serbia and Montenegro, the classification of the murder of more than 8,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica as genocide. This fact has also been recognized by organizations and governments across the world, including the U.S Congress in resolutions 199 and 134 on genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It is evident that by denying the previous ruling of the ICTY regarding the Srebrenica Genocide, Judge Flügge is unable to show impartiality to the case and is in violation of The Hague’s Rule 15(A):

“A Judge may not sit on a trial or appeal in any case in which the Judge has a personal interest or concerning which the Judge has or has had any association which might affect his or her impartiality. The Judge shall in any such circumstance withdraw, and the President shall assign another Judge to the case.”

For these reasons, CNAB requests that the Court removes Judge Flügge from his role in the proceedings against Radovan Karadzic, or in any case dealing specifically with charges of genocide.

Finally, CNAB requests a full apology to all the victims of the genocide who have been hurt by this statement, at a time when they are getting ready to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the genocide and bury more victims who are still being identified from the many mass graves.

The statements made by Judge Flügge amount to genocide denial and can have dangerous consequences on the Court’s ability to justly prosecute war crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina including the very important case against the accused war criminal Radovan Karadzic. It is crucial that the seriousness of this matter is fully addressed by the Court.

Source: Congress of North American Bosniaks

  1. Vincent Jappi
  2. Anonymous
    July 16, 2009 at 10:46 am

    There was a Genocide, not only in Srebrenica, but in other parts of the country too. Read archives, research, do the math, one does not need to be super smart to comprehend.

  3. owen
    July 17, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Fluegge was pointing to the problem of fitting what he described as the "sociocide" of Cambodia into the framework of the Genocide Convention, and similarly Stalin's "classicide" of the kulaks. But that's not an argument for throwing away the Genocide Convention. There are other flaws in the Convention, such as the absence of a reference to "cultural genocide". But that's an argument for reinforcing the Convention or devising complementary instruments, not for abandoning the concept of intent to destroy a defined group. And Fluegge appears to be oblivious to the specifically preventive function of the Convention.

    I'm not sure that this is an issue of impartiality rather than one of competence. Confidence in Judge Fluegge's ability to interpret international humanitarian law is not enhanced by his idiosyncratic rejection of all the deliberations and findings not just of his own Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia but also of the Tribunal for Rwanda.

    If, as it appears, he is unable to understand or accept the framework of law within which these courts have operated he should step down.

  4. Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor
    July 17, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Owen, you made an excellent point. This could be an issue of competence.

    Owen and other readers, would you please mind contacting the ICTY and asking them to – at least – take our concerns into consideration?

  5. Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor
    July 18, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Minor mistake fixed: His name is Judge Christoph Flügge, not "Fluegge."

  6. owen
    July 18, 2009 at 8:54 am

    "ue" is a standard way of representing the "u umlaut" if you're using a character set that doesn't include accented characters.

  7. Vincent Jappi
    July 19, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Judge Flügge was questioning neither the reality of the Srebrenica genocide nor its intent, but only the legal distinction between deliberate mass murder according to ethnic and religious criteria and deliberate mass murder according to other –tactical, political or social– criteria.

    Such circumstances neither add nor detract to the gravity of the crime, and should not influence moral judgement.
    It has been a long-lasting scandal in contemporary politics that incitement to racial or religious or sexual (!) hatred has been branded as "unacceptable" whereas incitement to social and political hatred, which has led to the murder of even more people, is not equally condemned. And such incitement presently leads to systematic discrimination against minorities, such as "progressive" taxation" and other hate taxes.

    As a consequence, judge Flügge does not appear to be partial or incompetent on this particular subject; he is merely questioning what he perceives as a Politically Correct bias in the name of consistency and impartiality.

    On the other hand, he seems not to understand how deeply flawed is a Tribunal which fails to distinguish aggressor states from their victims.

    "Flügge: I would not like to go into this concrete case, but I generally wonder whether people really need to use a concept of ethnic murder, of genocide, to qualify such crimes.
    Why should we make a difference at all in this case?
    What does it change to the intrinsic injustice if people get killed for reasons other than national, ethnic, racial or religious as regulated in our status, but just because they happened to be there?
    It happened several times in Stalin's fight against the so-called Kulaks in the Ukraine.

    "SPIEGEL: This would not be judged under the qualification of genocide.

    "Flügge: That is why I believe that we should reflect about a new legal qualification. The concept of mass murder might make many delineation problems obsolete.
    That would also clarify things in Cambodia. There Cambodians committed mass murder on Cambodians. What is that, then? Ethnic suicide? Sociocide? Strictly speaking, the concept of Ethnic murder fits only the Holocaust".

  8. owen
    July 20, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Vincent, Fluegge was saying that he didn't want to discuss the fact that the categorisation of Srebrenica as a genocide was disputed (that was the "concrete case" raised by the reporter to which he was responding in your quote).

    He is a judge of the ICTY. The ICTY has decided that what happened at Srebrenica was genocide. How can Fluegge feel he can avoid the subject without suggesting that he is challenging the findings of the ICTY as confirmed by the ICJ?

    Fluegge also seems unaware of the preventive intent of the Genocide Convention? Unless you have criteria for identifying a group how are you supposed to identify an attmept to destroy a group while it is still in progress – partial and not yet total?

    As far as I know the fact of mass murder does not require the intervention of a state party to an international treaty in order to prevent the continuation of mass murder.

    A lot of hard work went into producing the Genocide Convention with the intent that future attempts to commit genocide might be prevented as a result of the duty to intervene.

    Fluegge appears to be suggesting that the Genocide Convention should be discarded without considering whether there is a substitute instrument ready to replace it.

  9. Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor
    July 21, 2009 at 2:33 am

    What is more outrageous is the fact that the ICTY people never responded to our Fax and numerous E-mails. How professional, indeed.

  10. owen
    July 21, 2009 at 7:18 am

    "Progressive taxation" is a hate tax? The aim of "progressive taxation" is to avoid an excessively skewed distribution of income, which is a legitimate goal of a democratic society. A society is entitled to enact rules that help to protect its less advantaged members. That's not the same as creating disadvantage or practising systematic discrimination, and it's hard to see how economic amelioration/remediation can be equated with hatred in the absence of other substantial abuse of those whose economic freedom is subject to restriction. There is a difference between incitement to social and political hatred resulting in a denial of the right to life and efforts to guarantee the basic conditions of life.

    It is society which decides what constitutes criminal activity. The law is a social and political construct in theory aimed at ensuring the smooth functioning of a well-ordered society. As members of a society we agree to exchange some absolute "rights" for the benefits of living in a socially ordered environment – these are "duties" that we accept. We rely on the structure of internationally subscribed human rights to ensure that the personal sacrifices imposed on members of the national society are not excessively onerous.

    Murder is a crime under national law. International humanitarian law operates where national law has shown itself incapable of protecting basic human rights. I'm not sure how Fluegge proposes establishing a line of demarcation between crimes of multiple murder that fall within the scope of national legislation and those where a crime is committed – being committed – under international law and other states are called upon to intervene in order to "prevent or punish" the crime.

    A judge at the ICTY has the task of implementing the law as it exists. If Judge Fluegge considers the law he is asked to apply to be indefensible, he would be better off applying his forensic skills to academic research or political campaigning.

  11. Vincent Jappi
    August 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Let Socialist pseudo-democrats live together with the other Socialist pseudo-democrats and celebrate their common belief in half-slavery to the state.

    And let those who have identified their subjective beliefs as arbitrary, absurd and utterly destructive, live as human beings.

    But of course, Socialist pseudo-democrats won't ever leave in peace those who do no share their faith.

    Socialism is an idolatry of state violence, it is about imposing themselves on dissidents and stealing from them, not about sharing values.

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