500.000 bodies or sign!

Some of you may have been reading my earlier column “Do you hear Mr. Nobel rolling in his grave? on 12th Oct.2008.  Now I was reading an shocking article “How the Nobel Peace Prize Was Won” by Gregory Elich at CounterPunch. Original article can be found from here.

One of the main points highlights Ahtisaari’s mediator tactics when he is threatening President Milosevic that those whom Ahtisaari represented were willing to flatten Belgrade and to kill 500.000 people in a week unless President Milosevic does not sign his offer.

Sign or get 500.000 bodies!

“Ahtisaari opened the meeting by declaring, “We are not here to discuss or negotiate,” after which Chernomyrdin read aloud the text of the plan. Ahtisaari says that Milosevic asked about the possibility of modifying the plan, to which he replied, “No. This is the best that Viktor and I have managed to do. You have to agree to it in every part.” Ristic reports that as Milosevic listened to the reading of the text, he realized that the “Russians and the Europeans had put us in the hands of the British and the Americans.” Milosevic took the papers and asked, “What will happen if I do not sign?” In answer, “Ahtisaari made a gesture on the table,” and then moved aside the flower centerpiece. Then Ahtisaari said, “Belgrade will be like this table. We will immediately begin carpet-bombing Belgrade.” Repeating the gesture of sweeping the table, Ahtisaari threatened, “This is what we will do to Belgrade.” A moment of silence passed, and then he added, “There will be half a million dead within a week.” Chernomyrdin’s silence confirmed that the Russian government would do nothing to discourage carpet-bombing. The meaning was clear. To refuse the ultimatum would lead to the deaths of large numbers of civilians and total devastation. President Milosevic summoned the leaders of the parties in the governing coalition and explained the situation to them. “A few things are not logical, but the main thing is, we have no choice. I personally think we should accept…To reject the document means the destruction of our state and nation.”

True story

I originally found above mentioned article from a column by Dr. Jan Oberg, who is a Danish co-founder of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.  He also checked from a  Canadian lawyer Chistopher Black if the quotation was true.  The lawyer confirmed that it was exactly the same what President Milosevic had earlier told him in his cell in the Hague.

Dr. Oberg published also 22nd Oct. 2008 an article which headline “Peace Laureate Ahtisaari endorsed terrorism” tells quite a lot about content. I really recommend you read this analytical article yourself.  It can be found from here. If link does not open so copy/paste following address: http://www.transnational.org/Resources_Treasures/2008/Oberg_Ahtisaari_2.html

The bottom line

After reading articles mentioned above, having followed Kosovo conflict management on the ground as well from different reports and sources I would conclude, that

  • methods to stop Nato bombings were not so sophisticated than maybe earlier assumed
  • it is not anymore unclear, why Serbs had reservations for Ahtisaari and his impartiality as UN envoy/mediator
  • it is easy to understand why there was not real negotiations – status talks – 2005-2006, why they failed and why the outcome – Ahtisaari plan/report – is what it is

The lesson learned could be that crisis management with using force to get imposed solutions without real negotiations between local stakeholders are not sustainable.



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4 Responses to 500.000 bodies or sign!

  1. dr. adhamudhi says:

    Yes, it is truly a shame. Milosevic would have been a better choice, but I guess it is too late now.

  2. […] in his grave”  and more specific about Ahtisaari’s mediator tactics in my article “500.000 bodies or sign”- headlines are describing quite well the […]

  3. […] Peace has many definitions. Most common maybe are that it is tranquility, stillness; freedom from contention, violence or war; treaty that ends a war. It is a term that most commonly refers to an absence of hostility; “freedom from civil disorder”. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually to notable peacemakers those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations”. Some times it is hard to find connection between the original idea of Nobel Prize and the actual Nobel laureates (about last selection I wrote articles “Do you hear Mr Nobel rolling in his grave” and “500000 bodies or die”) […]

  4. […] in his grave” – and more specific about Ahtisaari’s mediator tactics in my article “500.000 bodies or sign” -headlines are describing quite well the content and my shock after his selection Interventions […]

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