World of Hurt

You've no doubt heard by now that Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic will soon stand trial before the United Nation War Crimes Tribunal. The charge? Crimes against humanity. (A lesser charge of DU

Jul 12, 2001 at 2:06 pm

You've no doubt heard by now that Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic will soon stand trial before the United Nation War Crimes Tribunal. The charge? Crimes against humanity. (A lesser charge of DUI — Despot-ing Under the Influence — has been dropped.) Ouch. Tough rap.

Still, if you're like me (and if you are, you saw this irrelevant parenthetical phrase coming), you're wondering just how much experience U.N. courts have in dealing with such low and venal figures. Who, specifically, has the U.N. tried on similarly serious charges? And how do they deal with and punish malefactors of this magnitude?

Well, wonder no more.

A bit of digging turned up the following quartet of recent defendants, a despicable international rogues' gallery of base vermin. Read about their wretched deeds at the risk of soiling your very brain.

Francois DuBois: Until 1999, Mr. DuBois, a resident of Lausanne, Switzerland, was the owner of the largest worldwide chain of college bookstores in the world. As such he was brought before the World Court charged with price-fixing, price-gouging, profiteering and possession of enormous cohones. Introduced into evidence against him was a $120 Introduction to Art History textbook with no color plates (a revised edition, meaning no used books were available); a used Physical Geography text he sold for $53 though he'd bought it from a student for a paltry $1.50; and documentary evidence of collusion with university libraries to limit the availability of any and all novels required by English Lit courses. DuBois was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison. (He subsequently sold his empire to OPEC, which was looking for a business that could generate more obscene profits than the oil business; the cartel continues to operate with impunity to this day.)

Paolo Imprezzo: Mr. Imprezzo is the unconscionable agent/publicist responsible for the 1998 "comeback" of Cher. Largely through the efforts of this Italian national, all of Western Civilization was overexposed to the disco-beated, brain-rotting "Believe," appalled by the equally insidious video of same, then subjected to a 46-city world tour that targeted millions of gullible, impressionable youths who will, unfortunately, never be able to overcome their exposure to Cher. Imprezzo was found guilty of concert promoting against humanity and sentenced to three years in prison (where he met his current client, Robert Downey Jr.).

Butch Renfro: The football jersey first appeared in the early years of the century and was worn exclusively by football players. Decades later, in the early 1970s, the loose-mesh football jersey — the same basic garment made of a see-through fishnet-like material — was introduced and was most often worn by "civilians." Then, in 1995, Butch Renfro created and marketed the first loose-mesh football jersey in size XXXXL, and for the first time the gigantic man had the means to expose his massive self to the public at large while at the same time draping it in the hillbilliest of fabrics. And though Americans might have been outraged by the garment's appearance on the scene, it wasn't until hundreds of plus-plus-plus-plus-sized mesh-jerseyed tourists descended on Europe in the summer of 1996 that Renfro was held accountable for his crime — i.e., contamination of global eyesight. At his sentencing, his comments that obese American males had the inalienable right to cool, comfortable clothing like everyone else only seemed to anger the Court tribunal, and he received the maximum 10-year prison term, which he's now serving in a Chinese prison, where, ironically, he spends his days making Nike sportswear.

Bruno Hofstadtler: In 1997, Bruno Hofstadtler traveled from his hometown of Gutzenschwindluffhassenburgh, Germany, to Toronto, Canada to attend the Special Olympics World Winter Games. There, despite witnessing 13 events over two days, it was documented that, unlike millions of other worldwide spectators, Hofstadtler did not cry. Never. Not once. In fact, witnesses sitting near him in the stands claim he never even teared up. Not before, during or after a competition. (Is it any wonder he's been given the suitably ominous nickname, "A German Guy?") Once alerted to Hofstadtler's conduct, Canadian officials concluded he must surely be pure evil, a beast capable of anything; the fact that he'd behaved in such a manner at an international event required that he be remanded to a U.N. court. He was charged with ruthless insensitivity and criminal stoicism. Though Hofstadtler claimed he was dehydrated from his transatlantic flight and therefore couldn't cry, the judges were not swayed and, after pronouncing him guilty, sentenced him, in hopes that his icy soul could somehow be reached, to life in a minimum-security facility where he is responsible for euthanizing the sick family dogs of underprivileged, terminally ill children. ©