CSCE :: Statement :: Amendment on Yugoslavia War Criminals
United States of America
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 107th CONGRESS, 1st SESSION
Washington, Tuesday, July 24, 2001
House of Representatives
AMENDMENT ON YUGOSLAVIA WAR CRIMINALS
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
AMENDMENT ON YUGOSLAVIA WAR CRIMINALS Honorable Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey
Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order that the language on page 107, lines 11 through 17, is not in order because it violates clause 2 of rule XXI of the House rules which prohibits legislation on an appropriations bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE) wish to be heard on the point of order?
Mr. KOLBE. No, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair finds that this provision directly amends existing law. The provision therefore constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI. The point of order is sustained, and section 577 is stricken from the bill.
The Clerk will read.
The Clerk read as follows:
SEC. 578. (a) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act may be made available for assistance, with the exception of humanitarian assistance and assistance for democratization, to any country, entity or municipality whose competent authorities have failed, as determined by the Secretary of State, to take necessary and significant steps to implement its international legal obligations to apprehend and transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (the ``Tribunal'') all persons in their territory who have been publicly indicted by the Tribunal.
(b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the appropriate committees of the Congress that the competent authorities of such country, entity, or municipality are--
(1) cooperating with the Tribunal, including access for investigators, the provision of documents, and the surrender and transfer of publicly indicted indictees or assistance in their apprehension; and
(2) taking steps that are consistent with the Dayton Accords.
(c) The Secretary of State may waive the application of subsection (a) with respect to a country, entity, or municipality upon a written determination to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate that provision of assistance that would otherwise be prohibited by that subsection is in the national interest of the United States.
AMENDMENT NO. 8 OFFERED BY MR. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment on behalf of the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. CARDIN) and myself.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment No. 8 offered by Mr. SMITH of New Jersey:
Page 108, after line 20, insert the following:
SENSE OF THE CONGRESS RELATING TO COOPERATION WITH THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
SEC. 579. (a) FINDINGS.--The Congress finds as follows:
(1) All member states of the United Nations have the legal obligation to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia .
(2) All parties to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina have the legal obligation to cooperate fully with the Tribunal in pending cases and investigations.
(3) The United States Congress continues to insist, as a condition for the receipt of foreign assistance, that all governments in the region cooperate fully with the Tribunal in pending cases and investigations.
(4) The United States Congress strongly supports the efforts of the Tribunal to bring those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in the former Yugoslavia to justice.
(5) Those authorities in Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia responsible for the transfer of Slobodan Milosevic to the Tribunal at The Hague are congratulated.
(6) The governments of Croatia and Bosnia are congratulated for their cooperation with the Tribunal, particularly regarding the transfer of indictees to the Tribunal.
(7) At least 30 persons who have been indicted by the Tribunal remain at large, especially in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, including but not limited to Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.
(8) The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recently adopted a resolution that emphasizes the importance of cooperation by member states with the Tribunal.
(b) SENSE OF CONGRESS.--It is the sense of Congress that:
(1) All governments, entities, and municipalities in the region, including but not limited to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia , Serbia, and the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are strongly encouraged to cooperate fully and unreservedly with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in pending cases and investigations.
(2) All governments, entities, and municipalities in the region should cooperate fully and unreservedly with the Tribunal, including (but not limited to) through--
(A) the immediate arrest, surrender, and transfer of all persons who have been indicted by the Tribunal but remain at large in the territory which they control; and
(B) full and direct access to Tribunal investigators to requested documents, archives, witnesses, mass grave sites, and any officials where necessary for the investigation and prosecution of crimes under the Tribunal's jurisdiction.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the order of the House today, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. SMITH) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition, and I reserve a point of order against this amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE) reserves a point of order, and will be recognized on the amendment.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. SMITH) for 10 minutes.
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
This amendment, Mr. Chairman, underscores our resolve to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Sometimes some people wonder if it is really worth introducing this complex and complicating factor called justice into U.S. policy toward the region. Justice may be nice, they argue, but regional stability is what is really needed in the Balkans. Insisting on the prosecution of war crimes, they continue, certainly does not help in this regard, and if our European allies are not pushing this, why should we?
Mr. Chairman, in response, I ask that my colleagues make sure that time has not faded the horrific images of the Yugoslav conflict, images of prisoners interred in camps like Omarska, the mass graves of Vukovar, Srebrenica, and in recent weeks those uncovered in Serbia itself.
I would just say parenthetically on a trip the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. WOLF) and I made in the early months of the war against Croatia, we went to Osijek and Vukovar. We were there when it was surrounded by Serbian military snipers. There were MiGs flying overhead. We met with people inside of wine cellars who would not come out because every day snipers were just picking off innocent civilians, killing these people as they walked down the street, as they leveled one block after another.
The people who were in Vukovar Hospital, soon after we left, just months after we left when that city under siege was overtaken, were literally taken out and killed in a terrible, a horrible way, just shot and put into a mass grave.
So I would respectfully submit that we must remember those frightened, innocent peasants who we all saw the images of day in and day out on CNN fleeing over mountain passes with whatever they could carry. There were stories of snipers in Vukovar, in Sarajevo, in Mostar, in other cities, shooting anybody that crossed the street; or the militants lobbing shells at schools or kids who wrongfully hoped it would be safe enough to do a little sleigh riding in their hilly neighborhoods.
It is virtually impossible for us, I would submit, to comprehend what it is like for these people who did nothing wrong, who posed no threat to anyone, to have encountered such hostility and such hatred. We must never forget nor should we ever stop seeking justice for those who fled, for those who were tortured, for those who were raped repeatedly.
We had hearings, Mr. Chairman. The gentleman might recall in the Helsinki Commissions we brought in rape victims who, as a matter of state policy, the Serbian government and the Bosnian Serbs were trying to make an example of these women to break the back of those people in Serbia, in Bosnia. It was horrible to see the blank faces and the vacant look in their eyes, the look of pain, as they came forward to tell of their stories.
We must put ourselves in their shoes as we consider this amendment. We must stand there on the edge of that ditch and try to ponder the notion that these drunken people had their rifles pointed at their backs, and those sons and daughters and fathers and everyone else were killed. There needs to be an accounting.
We must remember that these culprits of these horrific crimes are today living their lives at large, mostly in the Republic of Srpska, and in Serbia as well.
As a matter of fact, a history of ancient hatreds is really a myth. They like to throw that out, that somehow this was just all of these animosities, generation after generation. Nothing was inevitable. This did not have to happen. Those responsible for this carnage need to be held to account, people like Karadzic, Mladic, and some 30 others who have already been indicted by the tribunal who are walking the streets free today. They need to be held to account.
Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment. I know the chairman may raise a point of order. It does express our collective concerns as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in favor of going forward and being as aggressive and attentive as we can be.
As I said at the outset, time should not fade these memories. As we learned from the Holocaust and the atrocities of Nazis, we hunt down until we bring to justice those who have committed these horrible acts.
Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
As the gentleman knows, we worked together to craft appropriate language regarding aid to Yugoslavia and its cooperation with the War Crimes Tribunal. The bill carries similar language to the fiscal year 2001 bill. It allows assistance to Serbia until March 30, 2002, at which time the Secretary of State must certify that Serbia is cooperating with the Tribunal, taking steps consistent with the Dayton Accords to limit financial cooperation with the Republic of Srpska, and is respecting minority rights.
The bill also carries separate language requiring that all countries cooperate with the international criminal tribunal or face penalties. We arrived at this language through negotiations with the chairman, and it enjoys the support of most members of the committee.
I understand and agree with the concerns addressed in the gentleman's amendment, and I am happy that the language included reflects many of those concerns. I am pleased to note that soon after our subcommittee marked up this bill former President Milosevic was turned over to the Tribunal.
Despite this historic event, I strongly support retaining this language. It recognizes the simple fact that many war criminals remain at large and that our assistance should continue to be conditioned to a great degree on continued cooperation with the Tribunal.
I thank the gentleman for his leadership on this issue.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I continue to reserve a point of order on this amendment, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, let me just say about this issue, I understand the concerns that people have, and it is one that I share. We want to make sure that war criminals are brought to justice. We want to make sure that we move in Serbia to help develop democracy in that region. These are not mutually exclusive, by any means. But sometimes the orbits may come into conflict.
We have two provisions in our bill relating to war criminals. Section 582 is a variation of last year's provision affecting Serbia. Section 578 is a streamlined replacement for the so-called Lautenburg amendment that applies to all countries in the Balkans.
That language, and I was just reading it the other day, it is pages and pages and pages in the bill that was so complicated it was just routinely waived. The committee recommendation this year I think is much more straightforward.
Regarding Serbia, last year's language prohibited most assistance to Serbia after March 31 of 2001 unless the President can certify, among other things, that Yugoslavia was cooperating with the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Such a certification was made last year. We have received requests to continue and even to strengthen the language this year.
Our recommendation continues the language largely unchanged from last year. I am not enthusiastic about doing that. We need to help the people of Serbia and the reformers in that country and the long struggle they have been facing to reform their society. Punishing them for not fulfilling every aspect of The Hague Tribunal's directives may not, and I think is not, positive in the long run. We want to help the democratic governments in the Balkans. We are not trying to hurt them. We are not trying to stunt their democratic growth.
The Hague Tribunal is part of an effort to promote democratic governments. We cannot sacrifice the future of democratic governments to the procedural niceties, however, of the tribunal. They need to work together. They need to go hand in hand. The tribunal needs to do its stuff, but the countries are not always going to find it possible to comply with every single thing that the tribunal might ask them.
But I think it is worth noting, as every Member of this body is well aware, that President Milosevic, the key war criminal we were insisting that Serbia send to the tribunal, has been sent to The Hague. That has caused an enormous political difficulty for the government in Serbia. Let us not underestimate the great difficulties the Serbian Government, both at the provincial level as well as at the national, the federation level, has had in dealing with this problem.
We also recognize that Croatia needs to send additional war criminals to The Hague. By bowing to international pressures, particularly pressure from the United States, the new democratic governments in the regions are facing tremendous risks, as we have been seeing with the political upheaval that has followed the transfer of President Milosevic to The Hague. So in our strong desire to have full compliance with the tribunal, I hope we do not end up hurting the very governments that we are trying to help.
So for that reason, I think this is bad legislation, a bad approach to the problem.
Mr. Chairman, I continue to reserve the balance of my time and also the point of order.
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes, just to respond briefly. And I know a point of order is lodged against this, or will be shortly, but the language really does focus on all governments, entities, and municipalities in the region.
And, frankly, when we have a sense of impunity, and I know Kostunica and others are trying to do their part to try to rein in. While I was in Paris, at the OSCE parliamentary assembly, we had a very, very meaningful, as did other members of our delegation, meeting with the speaker of the parliament in Serbia. And I believe they really are serious about trying to rein in on the impunity that unfortunately was the modus operandi of Serbia for so long and the Republic of Yugoslavia .
This language tries to say we are on your side, we want to help rid, or at least get to justice, those people who have committed these terrible crimes, because they intimidate their own people. On day two of the bombing, one of the people who had come to our Helsinki Commission and had testified on behalf of free media, at a time when Milosevic had shut down S92, and other independent media, he was murdered right after the bombing began. He was shot dead gangland-style by the thugs of Slobodon Milosevic. Some of those same people are still walking the streets.
Otpor has come out, and they are naming names of police who have committed atrocities, putting themselves at considerable risk. So it seems to me that the more we encourage those democratic forces, and this is sense of the Congress language granted, the quicker they will get to a free and hopefully a robust democracy.
Let me just finally say, and I say to this my good friend the chairman, our hope is that we look very seriously at a police academy for the Republic of Yugoslavia . We met with General Ralston, our delegation, on our trip, and he made it very clear that the Kosovo Academy, which has now graduated some 4,000 police, really is the model for the region. It is the way we ought to be going.
If we want to exit and pull out NATO troops, U.S. troops, we need to have on the ground the kind of stability and transparency that a properly trained police academy with an emphasis on human rights can bring. And it seems to me that Bosnia and the Republic of Srpska and, of course, the Republic of Yugoslavia could benefit greatly from it. So I ask the amendment be supported by my colleagues.