It was a small demonstration exercise in cooperation with the Hague tribunal and the benefits that result from such cooperation. The tribunal rewards cooperation, just like government in Washington, only the currency of exchange in The Hague is different. Leading world newspapers recorded that Todorovic received a lighter sentence than indictees who did not admit their guilt and who were accused by the prosecution of lesser crimes than those to which Todorovic actually confessed.
What no world newspaper has explained to its readers following the sentencing of the Monster is the role of NATO in the fate of Stevan Todorovic. This role is inversely proportional to his sentence, i.e., it's role was significant but the sentence in comparison with the crime, is negligible. Namely, NATO got mixed up in Todorovic's arrest illegally. When the judge decided to get to the bottom of what happened, the prosecutor rushed to offer Todorovic a deal and a reduced sentence.
The Hague indictment against Todorovic was not sealed and this pre-war furniture factory clerk from the Samac area withdrew from Bosnia to Serbia promptly after Dayton. However, this did not help him. The night of September 27, 1998, he was kidnapped from his cottage on Mt. Zlatibor and taken to the Republic of Srpska, where his kidnappers turned him over to SFOR. Todorovic is not the only Bosnian Serb who met with this fate: Dragan Nikolic, a Bosnian Serb lying low in Smederevo, was captured in the same manner and turned over or, more accurately, sold to SFOR, and before either of these two, the pre-war mayor of Vukovar, Slavko Dokmanovic, was tricked into turning himself over to Hague investigators when American General Jacques Paul Klein invited him as a guest into a protected zone in Croatia supposedly to give him a photograph of a previous meeting as a token of friendship. (Dokmanovic later hanged himself in The Hague.)
Unlike the other two men, Stevan Todorovic was fortunate in that his case was assigned to Hague Judge Patrick Robinson, who, at the request of Todorovic's American lawyers, demanded an explanation from SFOR regarding the circumstances under which Todorovic was arrested. SFOR first claimed what was an obvious lie: that the role of NATO troops was limited to the arrest of Todorovic on the territory of the Republic of Srpska. Todorovic's lawyers requested that American General Shinseki, the commander of the SFOR airforce base in Tuzla, personally testify before the Hague court, as well as all SFOR personnel involved in the capture of Stevan Todorovic, and that they turn over all documents in SFOR's possession related to the case of their client (all written reports, all records of related vehicle movements and personnel, audio and video tapes of the arrest itself, orders, names and addresses of SFOR in any way connected with the arrest). The defense, of course, was able to call witnesses who could testify that, at the moment of his kidnapping, Todorovic was sleeping in his cottage on Mt. Zlatibor (in Serbia).
From this sequence of events, it is easy to determine that NATO's reluctance to appear before the court because it was mixed up in illegal dealings had something to do with the prosecutor's wish to save General Shinseki from giving uncomfortable testimony by making a deal with Todorovic. In this case, it is quite possible to draw the conclusion that Stevan Todorovic was treated in the same manner by the Hague tribunal as he would have been by any court of any liberal Western country. With two exceptions: had he been in the United States, Todorovic would not have languished in prison for two years before getting an opportunity to prove that he was illegally arrested. And in the United States, he would most likely have stuck to his demand that the exact circumstances of his arrest be determined which would most probably have resulted in his release. In retrospect, Todorovic probably made the rational decision: if he was in Yugoslavia right now, the Serbian government would most likely arrest him itself and the prosecutor's office would not offer him a deal to dismiss most of the charges for which Todorovic was initially accused in the remaining 26 counts of his indictment; his sentence would be far harsher.
As a reminder, Stevan Todorovic is the police chief who is accused of forcing prisoners, in the police station in Bosanski Samac, to "perform fellatio" on each other. Apparently this was a regular form of entertainment because the indictment listed exactly six witnesses prepared to testify that they were forced to lick each other's sexual organs in front of other prisoners and prison guards. Todorovic was also accused of killing a prisoner and of crippling several others, including a Catholic priest, by beatings.
In any case, apparently Todorovic rushed to accept the prosecutor's offer of a prison sentence "not less than five years nor greater than 12". In December of 2000 he pleaded guilty to one count from his indictment. Coincidentally, at about the same time, a court in Belgrade sentenced nine local tough guys to prison sentences ranging from six months to eight and a half years in prison for kidnapping Stevan Todorovic as NATO mercenaries for 50,000 German marks. In the meanwhile, a comic element was added to the story when British SAS bragged in the London "Times" last year how their members "who speak perfect Serbian" entered Yugoslav territory undetected and kidnapped Stevan Todorovic in the dead of night.
We cannot rule out a rerun in the case against Slobodan Milosevic. His indictment, too, names a group accused of the same crimes and including people like Milan Milutinovic, who can hardly be held to the same level of accountability as Milosevic, having nowhere near the same amount of power as him. It is clear what the prosecutor is trying to achieve: a plea bargain in which the secondary offender will testify against the primary offender so that some of the charges on the indictment will be dropped...