Serbia, Russia lash out at UN war tribunal’s Karadzic verdict

BELGRADE – A UN war crimes tribunal has become an instrument of “revenge” and a place to “settle old scores,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, criticizing the court’s decision to sentence Radovan Karadzic to 40 years in prison on genocide charges.

The Russian Foreign Ministry asserted that the verdict, which is one of the harshest ever meted out by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), appears to be very one-sided, as it attributes the sole responsibility for the Yugoslav civil war to the Serbs.

The ICTY has acquitted numerous other participants of the Yugoslav civil war in the past, including Croatian General Ante Gotovina, Kosovo Albanian Ramush Haradinaj, and Bosnian field commander Naser Oric, according to the statement.

“The civil war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the NATO bombardments are a tragic chapter in world history,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “It is hard to imagine that only one side committed all the crimes in that war. The ICTY, however, continues building a myth of the Serbs’ sole responsibility for those events.”

This kind of approach has undermined interethnic reconciliation in the Balkans, the Foreign Ministry stressed.

Moscow also noticed the date – March 24-which the ICTY chose for announcing its verdict on Karadzic. On March 24, 1999, NATO’s coalition forces started its 78-day bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia – another crime, which the ICTY has refused to investigate.

“The civil war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the NATO bombardments are a tragic chapter in world history,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its release.

“It is hard to imagine that only one side committed all the crimes in that war. The ICTY, however, continues building a myth of the Serbs’ sole responsibility for those events. As a consequence, the dynamics of inter-ethnic and inter-confessional reconciliation in the Balkans has been seriously undermined,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

Karadzic had served as the Serb’s leader in Bosnia during the civil war in the 1990s. The ICTY found him guilty on 10 out of 11 charges on Thursday.

The only charge that was dropped related to allegations that Bosnian Serb forces had committed genocide in seven Bosnian municipalities.

He had been indicted on two counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, and four counts of violations of the laws of war for his role as President of Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Republic) from 1992 to 1996.

Serbia’s government complained Friday that the U.N. war crimes tribunal is biased against Serbs. The government said in a statement that the work of the war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia has left a “bitter taste because orchestrators of the policies of crimes against Serbs have been punished in almost no way.”

“The justice that punishes members of one nation for the crimes that everybody committed is in fact selective,” the Serbian government said. “Each crime should be punished as well as each individual who took part in it.”

The Serbian government said in the statement read out by the justice minister that the verdict against Karadzic must not be “politicized.” It said “putting the blame on an entire people for the crimes committed by individuals is inadmissible.”

“We will not allow anyone to use the verdict against the former president of Republika Srpska to point their fingers at us,” the statement said.

Republika Srpska is the name of the Serb mini-state in Bosnia that was created by the 1995 peace agreement that ended the fighting.

In the meantime, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, stated that the ICTY’s activities have been “politicized”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that Russia supported the creation of the ICTY back in 1993, but warned that the court should not become an instrument of revenge or a place to settle old scores.

“These expectations have not come true,” the Foreign Ministry said, adding that the ICTY judges don’t even bother to hide some of the more questionable methods adopted by the court.

Moscow also pointed out that the ICTY was set up as a temporarily body and has been working on an ad hoc provisional basis for the past 20 years. Moreover, the court has continually ignored deadlines set by the UN Security Council.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This War Crimes Tribunal has been set up to purely convict Serbs , as stated major war criminals from Croatia, Albania , Bosnia and Kosovo have walked from their crimes without so much as a bye or leave. Corruption runs high and all those who have been a party to USA’S determination to bring Serbs alone to trial and conviction by whatever means it takes are themselves guilty of allowing criminals, murderers and tortures to walk free.

  2. Yes, and I believe that this kangaroo court (ICTY) has been controlled directly from Washington from the day of its inception to the present day from Washington. This (and every other action from the West) exacted upon Serbia point up the fact that the great protector that “made the world safe for democracy” in former times has morphed into a dangerous hegemonic power that brings its ill-founded judgements upon unsuspecting victim nations without accountability and without conscience.

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