A Statement Issued by the Communist Organization for the Fourth International (COFI)

April 15, 2001

No to the Arrest and Indictment of the Criminal Milosevic!

It is obvious that the arrest of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on March 3, 2001 by the present Belgrade regime was not caused by the crimes he committed against both the masses of his own country and those in other countries which once comprised Yugoslavia. Rather, it was an act taken in response to foreign imperialist blackmail and to the rivalry between various reactionary forces at home. Therefore, authentic Marxists condemn the fraudulent arrest and demand the release of Milosevic by the Serbian state.

The current openly bourgeois government forces led by President Vojislav Kostunica and Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and the pseudo-socialist Milosevic clan have in common the goal of exploiting the working class of Serbia and surrounding lands. They differ on who will get the lion’s share of the profits, the methods they use and as to which foreign interests they are currently tied.

The NATO imperialists, with the United States in the forefront, have made a big display of demanding that Milosevic be handed over to the “International Tribunal on War Crimes,” in The Hague. However, it is no secret that they are quite happy with Kostunica’s tactic of arresting and trying him in Belgrade for embezzlement and war crimes. They appreciate the fact that while the current Belgrade [Serb] regime thereby actually complies with imperialism’s demand to discipline Milosevic, it can tell its people that it is acting in their national interest rather than that of the Western powers.

The Kostunica government has arrested Milosevic for several reasons. It wishes to eliminate its chief political and economic rivals within the Serb ruling class. It wishes to divert the Serbian working class and its growing anger over the failure of the new regime to deliver on its promises of a better life. It wishes to secure the funds promised by the imperialists if Belgrade obeys the will of “the international community” of exploiters, chauvinists and mass murderers.

If the Kostunica-led forces were to try Milosevic for war crimes in addition to embezzlement, it would be the height of irony. If anything, they were and are even greater national chauvinists than the former president. Together with him they share responsibility for the bloody and inhuman campaign of “ethnic cleansing” which Milosevic so viciously launched in the former Yugoslavia. If for the moment the current regime downplays its strident Serb chauvinism, it is only to get themselves securely back on the imperialist payroll.

Washington wants to discipline Milosevic for the same reason it wants to punish Saddam Hussein. Serbia upset the Western attempt to pacify its region so that imperialism could more easily deepen its exploitation. Milosevic, like the Iraqi leader, was a willing pawn of the imperialists who overstepped the limits they placed upon him and decided to add to his country’s and his own share of the loot. Of course when the West responded by the murderous bombing campaign it launched against the people of Serbia, the bourgeois Milosevic regime could not conduct a serious anti-imperialist defense.

The judicial robes worn by the members of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague cover the blood on the hands of these imperialist puppets who mete out “justice.” If the tribunal was really interested in punishing war criminals, it would start with Clinton/Bush and Blair who have – just to cite only a few of their most topical crimes – bombed and starved the Iraqi people and armed and abetted the Zionist mass murderers of Palestinians. It would penalize Schroeder for joining in the blitzkrieg waged against the Serb masses; it would condemn Yeltsin and Putin for the misery and havoc visted upon the toilers in Chechnya. It would bring all the monsters who lead NATO for the murderous denial of the right to self-determination for the oppressed Albanian people in Kosovo and Macedonia. Of course the list of barbaric war criminals who will never be brought before the tribunal goes on and on.

Proletarian socialist revolution is the only way justice will ever be administered to the imperialist butchers and profiteers who have brought such widespread death and degradation to millions of human beings across the face of the Earth. Then, all war criminals including Milosevic, will pay in their own blood for the terror they have launched against the people of the world.

Release Milosevic!
Down with Imperialism and its Fake War Crimes Tribunal!
Down with the Pro-Imperialist Regime of Kostunica/Djindjic!
Self-determination for all Oppressed Balkan Nationalities! For a Socialist Federation of the Balkans!
Build the Revolutionary Party!
For the Re-Creation of the Fourth International!
Proletarian Socialist Revolution is the Only Solution!