Russia denounces UN tribunal

2012-12-06 10:01
Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj awaits his verdict at the courtroom of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. (File, AP)

Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj awaits his verdict at the courtroom of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York — Russia denounced a UN tribunal on Wednesday for undermining international justice by freeing two Croatian generals and Kosovo's ex-prime minister who were accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity against Serbs.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Security Council that the war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia demonstrated "neither fairness nor effectiveness" in last month's release of generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, which was quickly followed by the release of ex-Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and two of his former Kosovo Liberation Army comrades.

As a result, Churkin said, no one has been held accountable for murdering and expelling Serb civilians during a 1995 Croatian military offensive or for murdering and torturing Serbs and their supporters in Kosovo's war for independence.

Gotovina and Markac, the most senior Croatian officers convicted of war crimes during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, were freed by the tribunal's appeals chamber, which overturned their convictions for killing and deporting Serbs in a Croatian military blitz known as Operation Storm that drove thousands of Serbs from their homes and left hundreds dead.

Haradinaj, a former KLA commander, and his comrades were acquitted of crimes against humanity for the second time for allegedly murdering and torturing Serbs and their supporters in Kosovo's fight for independence.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 following a bloody civil war in 1999 that began with a brutal Serb crackdown on separatist Kosovo Albanians.

Justice not done

The court's prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, told the Security Council that serious crimes were documented in both cases and the victims "have the right to justice".

He encouraged national authorities in the region "to continue the fight against impunity".

In the case of the Croatian generals, Churkin said Russia was "surprised how blithely, even carelessly, a 3-2 vote quashed the unanimous verdict at trial, one justified by many years of investigation".

He said that in the view of Russia, which has close cultural and religious ties to the Serbs, "justice was not done — as stated by one of the [appeals] judges in dissent".

Churkin said a similar assessment is merited in the acquittals in the Haradinaj case where he alleged that "witnesses were subjected to unabashed blackmail and intimidation".

Both verdicts "discredit the idea of international criminal justice", he said. "Faith and the chance of restoring peace through international justice has been substantially undermined."

Sole perpetrator

Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic called the two verdicts "grotesque" and told the Security Council that his country's "faith in international justice has suffered a severest possible blow", especially as a result of the "shameful" Gotovina and Markac decision.

He said the tribunal's main goal was to contribute to peace and reconciliation in the Balkans.

"In its more than a decade of existence, it has convicted a number of former Serbian political and military leaders for war crimes. At the same time, it has failed to convict a single senior official from Croatia or Bosnia, and it has failed to convict a single senior Kosovo Albanian official for war crimes or crimes against humanity," Vucic said.

"By the recent judgment," he said, "the Serbian nation has therefore been singled out as the sole perpetrator of such acts, and as the sole people responsible for the terrible violence that engulfed the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s."

In response to the tribunal's actions, Vucic told the council that Serbia will continue co-operating with the tribunal but only "on the technical level".

Germany's UN Ambassador Peter Wittig said he was "alarmed" by Serbia's announcement that it will reduce its co-operation with the tribunal and called on all countries to co-operate with the court "to the fullest extent". He defended the tribunal for its independence and for consistently upholding "high standards of justice ... including the right of appeal".

Churkin vowed to ensure that the tribunal's work is completed as called for by the council by 31 December 2014, expressing dismay that one trial is not scheduled to finish until 2017.

- AP

Read more on:    russia  |  serbia  |  croatia  |  kosovo  |  war crimes
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.