Bigger is not best

The airport authorities are looking at the possibility of boosting the capacity of Palma airport so that it can handle 38 million passengers a year, nearly double its present capacity. There are many people in the aviation industry who already believe that Palma airport is something of a white elephant and far too big. Boosting its capacity even further will not win much support. It is also quite a curious decision when you take into account that the local government is actively trying to reduce tourism. Minister Celesti Alomar has said that he would like tourism to fall by 20 percent. So why the extension plan? During the winter months, only a third of Palma airport is used. I think rather than planning a mega-airport the authorities should be trying to make the most of the airport's present facilities. The old Terminal A is still mostly unused, there is plenty of surplus space. The airport authorities should be looking at ways to reduce walking distances to departure gates and helping the disablaed rather than further expansion plans. Big is sometimes, not the best.

Jason Moore

Crimes Courts Justified

There have been criticisms of the recent establishment of international courts to try war crimes; influential voices in Britain and elsewhere have supported Slobodan Milosevic's assertion that the Hague court before which he will shortly appear is illegal. However, the trial of Radislav Krstic which ended this week with his conviction for genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995 surely makes the case for such international courts. Under Krstic's command 7'000 Muslim men and youngsters were massacred by Bosnian Serbs for no better reason than that they were not Bosnian Serbs. If the United Nations had not established the Hague court and the procedures to ensure the appearance before it of men like Krstic how could any sort of justice ever have been done? The Muslim dead, and the many other dead of the Balkan wars of the 1990s would have received no justice. There is another dimension to the Srebrenica massacre which remains to be clarified. Many of the Muslims in the town were there because it had been designated as a ”safe haven” by the United Nations. But the 300 Dutch soldiers wearing the UN helmets were overrun and disarmed by the Serbs; their calls for reinforcement to deal with the disaster they could see developing were not acted on by UN officials at their headquarters and the French general in command in Bosnia vetoed appeals for an aerial strike. There are currently official enquiries taking place in France and the Netherlands to determine what actually happened to render the UN forces impotent in preventing Europe's worst human atrocity since the Holocaust.