|General Ratko Mladic in 1990's|
|Ratko Mladic in court today|
Now the irony is Ratko Mladic will be extradited, unless he can avoid it due to his health, to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal situated in the Hague, Netherlands the country whose military failed in its duty. The Dutch military prowess has a history of incompetence unless totally superior as they were for example in Ireland. William of Orange routed the Irish forces, who were as busy fighting amongst themselves as they were trying to fight him, at the Battle of the Boyne. To this day Ireland remains divided as a result and hence the recent controversy with the State Visit of Elizabeth Windsor to the Republic of Ireland.
The history of the Netherlands has unfortunately its own military history of war crimes. In June 1815 at Quatre Bras and Waterloo the Prince of Orange who at aged 23 was commander of the First Corps of the Duke of Wellington's Army facing Napoleon's Army of France. Three times he sent troops to certain annihilation by insisting they advanced in line, rather than form square, with cavalry formed ready to attack them. He was excused from any punishment because of his Royal status - no war crimes trials in those days. Of course in European history each and every country has in turn committed what we now call 'war crimes' and in turn been the judge of another. With the United States being involved after World War 2 at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany. So let us remember that no one nation is an innocent all are guilty. What has been learned? Well not much it appears by the Netherlands. The Mothers of Srebrenica have a lawsuit against the United Nations (UN) their Dutch lawyer Mr. Hagedorn said the group will not drop that lawsuit because of the arrest of Mladic. The Dutch Courts have upheld the UN claim to be immune from lawsuits. In our own maritime world the Netherlands is Flag State to the vessels of Sea Shepherd all of which have committed numerous acts of piracy. Vile as the war crimes of Mladic are he does have pretty good grounds to say "those who are without stain cast the first stone" - no doubt his defence lawyers will. An article by Danial Hannan www.telegraph.co.uk./ blog is well worth reading and an important opinion.
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