Ratko Mladic vs. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in “Who’s the Biggest Ass?”

Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the latest installment of  "Who’s the Biggest Ass," the contest that pits the behavior of defendants at war crime tribunals against each other and - against the validity of the tribunals themselves! I’m Jim Savage, and this is Bob Sisco.

BOB:   That’s right! And our next contest looks set to be a doozy!  It’s Serbian military commander Ratko Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague….

JIM: …. versus Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, architect of the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington, and his four co-defendants arraigned at the military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba!

JIM:  Before we begin, let’s go over the rules for our viewers new to “Who’s the Biggest Ass.”

BOB:  Here at WBA, we examine cases of international jurisprudence based on criteria including questions of due process, the validity and impartiality of the court itself, and the abominable behavior of defendants during the trial!  Because behaving like an ass is a point of pride for many!

JIM:  Remember, if you’re megalomaniacal enough to orchestrate the massacre of, for example, your nation’s ethnic or religious minorities, you’re unlikely to recognize the authority of the court!  

BOB: Our referees will reward the defendants points based on appalling behavior, but these points can be subtracted when questions of the court’s integrity and legitimacy come into play. Each defendant starts with 50 points.

JIM:  The winner is the defendant who’s less of an ass - although in cases like these, many defendants appear to be going for the opposite goal!

BOB:  Now let’s take a look - and right off the bat, 5 points awarded to Mladic as he walks into the courtroom as he gives a “thumbs-up” sign to Serbian supporters in the public gallery! 

JIM: All signs of arrogance are fair play for our refs at the WBA! But the refs are overlooking the insults hurled at Mladic as he walked in - including someone who called him a “vulture.”

BOB:   Let’s go to the charges that brought “the Butcher of Bosnia” to the dock.  He faces 11 charges including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity - with a special focus on the massacre of 8 thousand Muslim men and boys in Srebenica in 1995 - in the single worst atrocity on European soil since World War II.

JIM:  That’s right  - and that was a UN designated “safe haven,” where Dutch peacekeepers oversaw what was arguably the worst systemic failure of the United Nations ever.

BOB:  And with friends like that, who needs….

JIM:  Oh no, you didn’t…!

BOB:  Alright, I’ll leave it alone! Let’s not forget Mladic’s role in the 44 month Siege of Sarajevo!  Look at this! Another 10 points to Mladic for drawing his finger across his throat in response to a Bosnian Muslim woman in the public gallery.

JIM: That’s a threat of execution if I ever saw one!

BOB:  I haven’t had this much fun since Saddam Hussein ranted at the court during his 2006 tribunal in Baghdad!

JIM: And what an end to that case!  A pre-dawn secret hanging as Iraqi executioners mocked and videotaped the defendant —  just hammering the ‘legitimacy’ score — resulting in a posthumous upset for Saddam!

BOB: It’s just too bad he couldn’t enjoy it.

JIM: We’re off to a rip-roaring start in the Hague, but let’s turn our attention now to Guantanamo Bay and the most awaited trial of the past decade!

JIM:  And it’s been chaos since the very beginning!

BOB:  First, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was awarded 20 points off the bat for refusing to respond to judges’ questions - half of which were immediately subtracted because one of his co-defendants was wheeled into the courtroom in restraints, for no apparent reason! 

JIM:  And now - what’s this? Oh! Another 10 points to the defendants for standing up in the middle of proceedings to pray! 

BOB:  We can expect that to be a common theme throughout proceedings as the Islamic extremist defendants are expected to pray five times a day!

JIM:  Let’s watch now as the refs gather to discuss some points of due process… this could hit the courtroom hard…..

BOB:  …. This is the second time these defendants have been arraigned since 2008…. That’s already a long time since 9/11…..and the Feds couldn’t get it together to have a trial in New York City,  or to close Guantanamo as President Obama promised he’d do his first year in office….

JIM:  The refs have made their decision, ohmygod! It’s a staggering one at that!  Seventy-five points subtracted for a lack of due process, transparency, and access to clients by their lawyers!

BOB:  That’s got to make defense attorney Cheryl Bormann happy. As the sole female member of the defense team, she’s so committed to this trial, she’s wearing nearly a full burqa to appease her clients, and asking prosecutors to dress more conservatively.

JIM:  A move that our WBA refs have not figured out how to score!

BOB:  Wow.  I’m not sure military prosecutors can ever come from behind to beat a 75 point loss! The questionable integrity of the proceedings will overshadow any bad behavior by the defendants and any verdict that’s reached!

JIM:   That’s much less of a problem in the Hague, where the tribunal on the former Yugoslavia is seen as a infinitely more valid legal forum for the application of international law!

BOB:  True, but perhaps defense attorneys there may question the quid pro quo! Serbia only handed over Mladic so it could enter the European Union!

JIM:  As if they’d want to now! But look at this! Here’s Mladic claiming he’s innocent of all charges - but refusing to enter a formal plea!  Ten more points!

 BOB: That’s despite damning video evidence sure to come up of Mladic bragging his way through the days leading up to the Srebenica massacre!

JIM: So let’s call it! After day one of proceedings in both tribunals, Ratko Mladic is the Biggest Ass!

BOB:  Join us as both tribunals continue!

JIM:  And in the years to come, as we hope to bring you the Libyan trial of  Seif al-Qaddafi, versus Joseph Kony in the Hague!

BOB:  Just as soon as they catch him.

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