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Graham Blewitt Has Had Documents About Serb Crimes in Vocin Since 1993 and did Nothing
by Visnja STARESINA
Vecernji List, Zagreb, Croatia, December 16, 2000
Which one of the two of them is the true Graham Blewitt? The one who on Tuesday afternoon in his office in the Hague Tribunal said clearly, next to a running tape recorded, to colleague Sanja Pucak from HINA and me that indictments for the "Storm" are almost completed? Or, is the true Blewitt the one who afterwards said to someone else that he had not said that? Is the true Blewitt the one who a day later responded at a press conference to the question whether he had ever told anyone from the Croatian authorities who potential defendants in the cases related to the "Storm" were with a curt "yes"? After the end of the press conference he very politely responded to several questions put forward by colleague Sanja Pucak and myself and gave us explicit permission to quote him. And he said that the Croatian authorities had been given names of the people who could be indicted, that several individuals in Croatia knew those names, that the names of potential defendants "in many cases" matched those mentioned in the Croatian media, and that he was disappointed that the Croatian authorities were leaking that information to the media, although it should be confidential, and that by doing that the authorities were demonstrating that they were not willingly cooperating with the Tribunal.
Is the Croatian Government Afraid of the Tribunal?
Or perhaps the true Graham Blewitt is the one who later claimed that he hadn't exactly said all that, but that he had only said "yes"? And only because his statements prompted an urgent meeting of the government and its response that it did not know the names of individuals included in potential indictments and that it protested such and similar Blewitt's statements. Is the true Graham Blewitt the one who in his appearances fans Croatian dissatisfaction with the Hague Tribunal? Or is the true Blewitt the one who later openly, with brazen denials of everything that he did indeed say, passes the responsibility for starting of the fire to journalists, diplomats, or someone else? Is the true Blewitt the one who with petty provocations "tests" the extent of Croatian government's fear of the Tribunal, and the extent to which it is prepared to accept his demands, and how the Crotian public would react to indictments? Or is the true Blewitt the one who later, imitating a professional prosecutor, assures that he would never use such speculations and tricks?
Psychopathologists would probably conclude that both of them are actually one and only Graham Blewitt. Both the first one who with provocations tests the limits of possible and the second one who, after getting the signal that he has overdone it, amiably returns to the permissible limits, until the next occasion. Lawyers, however, have problems in finding a professional prosecutor in either of the Blewitts. The Australian Graham Blewitt has actually never been a true prosecutor in the European sense. In Australia, according to the Anglo-Saxon legal system, he was something between a police investigator and prosecutor, more akin to a policeman than a prosecutor. And, as he likes to emphasize, he worked on the prosecution of Nazi criminals.
Seven Years of Experience
Some will add that he was obsessed with the persecution of Ustashe and that that obsession continued after his arrival in 1993 to the Hague Tribunal prosecutor's office, as its first director, even before Richard Goldstone was named for the first prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal. However, one should not approach the man with prejudices, he should be judged by his accomplishments. And Graham Blewitt had seven years to dispel suspicions about his bias. During these seven years he had significant, if not crucial influence on the choice of investigations pursued by the prosecutor's office. By chance, I recently found out that in 1993 in the office of an American Congressman Blewitt was handed over full documentation about the Serb crime against Croats in the village of Vocin in 1991. Blewitt did not immediately send investigators there, waiting probably for historical distance, just as he did not send investigators to any of other twenty villages in Croatia where Serbs committed against Croats crimes of the same magnitude as those committed by Croats against Serbs in Pakracka Poljana or Medak Pocket. But the Hague prosecutors have been investigating those two cases for years already. "You shall see that complaints that we do not investigate crimes committed against Croats in 1991 are baseless. The investigations are ongoing and in a few months those indictments will also be issued," Blewitt assured us three days ago (I hope that he will not deny that).
Therefore, in a few months indictments for the bombardment of Dubrovnik in 1991 could be issued. As, supposedly, so far there was not enough time to investigate that obvious example of an attack on a civilian target. And before that indictments for the "Storm" in 1995 should be issued, and those indictments should include individuals from the top Croatian military and civilian leadership. There is now very little doubt that the operation will be characterized as ethnic cleansing, because that allows the prosecution to reach to the highest military leadership and senior civilian officials. What about four-years-long ethnic cleansing of Croats in sight of the UN forces on the occupied Croatian territory? What about several-months-long bombardment of Croat cities, which almost razed Vukovar to the ground, while the indictment was issued against only three officers of the Yugoslav People's Army and Slavko Dokmanovic for Ovcara? Well, Blewitt's investigators did not have time to process that, but on the other hand as early as two years ago they had a working version of the indictment according to which the day-long bombardment of Knin is an illegal attack on a civilian target!
During the trials of Croats from the Lasva Valley, who were guinea pigs of the Hague Tribunal, the prosecutor's office files were filled with Muslim crimes against Croats. However, there are still no indictments, and prosecutors state that Muslim criminals will not be acquitted, but it should be kept in mind that the Muslims were defending themselves because they do not have a back-up homeland, which implies that, once it is issued, the indictment will reach the level of a middle ranking rebellious military commander or a civilian municipal official. It seems that Croats never defended themselves. In Croatia they attacked Serbs, and in Bosnia Muslims. Consequently, Blewitt's prosecutors are gingerly investigating them. Besides, the professional Blewitt is probably the only prosecutor in the world who issues indictments against dead individuals. Thus, in the last year, whenever he felt the need to cheer up Serbia, he posthumously accused Franjo Tudman in front of journalists. And that professional Blewitt is upset with the Croatian government when it objects the selection of priorities by the Tribunal. Because, supposedly, who gives them the right to select priorities for the Hague prosecutors? And who is Graham Blewitt to lecture the Croatian government? A former police investigator with an imaginary mission and prejudices.
Measured reactions to Blewitt's political games and professional omissions, appropriate diplomatic actions and above all consistent processing of Croat war crimes will give the Croatian government a chance to reduce Graham Blewitt to his true size - a former police clerk who due to circumstances became an international official. Especially since the prosecution team del Ponte-Blewitt has slid too deep into the political waters even for the taste of its chief financial supporters.
Translated on January 24, 2001