Social Scientist. v 29, no. 336-337 (May-June 2001) p. 1.


Graphics file for this page
Editorial Note

The extradition of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevich to stand trial for war crimes is an event of great significance. Its significance lies not just in the fact that a former Head of State of a defeated country has been brought to stand trial for alleged misdemeanours not in his own country but before the victors; nor just in the fact that the extradition was achieved through arm-twisting over "aid", the dire necessity for which arose precisely because of the bombing of Yugoslavia by those very powers; nor just in the political threat implicit in this denouement for all those who dare to oppose imperialist might; nor just in the ideological propaganda that this denouement would buttress, namely that the responsibility for the Balkan War lies not with the Western powers but exclusively with Milosevich. The significance of the extradition lies, above everything else, in the assertion that a so-called "global court" set up. by imperialism has overriding jurisdiction: its jurisdiction even overrides that of the country's own Federal Constitutional Court.

It represents therefore an attempt to impose a "global judicial system". At present of course this system covers only "war crimes"; but there is no reason to believe that it would not be extended in the foreseeable future to cover other "crimes" as well. Until now we have had economic policies of nations being formulated by supranational bodies like the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO; we have seen imperialist countries institutionally arrogating to themselves, in the name of the United Nations, the right to act as the world's "policemen"; and we have even seen the laying down of the parameters of "governance" of nations by supra-national agencies. Now we are seeing the appropriation of the judicial sovereignty of nations by a supra-national judicial body. In other words, we are seeing yet another stage in the coming into being of an imperialist World State.

Imperialism's attempt to erect a World State represents an entirely new development. The colonial period had witnessed the existence of multiple imperialist States. Immediately after the second world war, the U.S., as the most powerful nation, had sought to establish a world order dominated by itself. But the current situation differs from it in two ways: first, we actually see the coming into being of a set of



Back to Social Scientist | Back to the DSAL Page