Deputy PM of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said at the UN Security council meeting dedicated to the work of Hague Tribunal that Serbia will lower its cooperation with the Tribunal down to technical level only.
Unsatisfied with the verdicts Vucic asked: “Who is responsible for killings of Serb civilians on Croatian territory and the biggest ethnic cleansing on European soil since the Second World War?”
Vucic said that the Tribunal did not pronounce anyone guilty for more than 1500 murdered and 250000 exiled Croatian Serbs and for other crimes against civilians during military operation “Storm”, even though the court concluded that the crimes were undoubtedly committed.
He thinks that the acquittal of KLA leaders Ramus Haradinaj, Idriz Baljaj i Lahi Brahimaj has similar effects, and stated that those proceedings were marked by unfathomable errors made by the prosecution and court councils.
Vucic asked for the possibility to allow persons convicted for war crimes to continue serving their sentences in countries they are from.
Hague Tribunal acquitted for the second time former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Ramush Haradinay, suspect for crimes against Serbs in west of Kosovo in 1998.
Representatives of state institutions and political parties in Serbia almost unanimously condemned the verdict as unjust, but add that it was also, unfortunately, expected.
President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic stated that this acquittal will unite all citizens of Serbia because, in his own words, the injustice can only inspire Serbs, not bring them down.
“I think they did not make a good judgement of the Serbs. We will only unite in spite because of this verdict, we won’t be brought down or disappointed. We are proud people even when an injustice has been done upon us, and perhaps a new unity and peace will come out of all this among the Serbs,” said Nikolic.
“This is the moment when all Serbs should be released from the Hague Tribunal, because, if the operation “Storm” was not a crime, and if Haradinay did not commit a crime, then how could they find crimes committed by Serbian politicians, army commanders and police officers who are in the Hague”, Nikolic concluded.
A heated argument on Twitter between Vuk Jeremic, president of UN General Assambly and Luka Misic, defense lawyer of Croatian general Ante Gotovina started after an article in Zagreb daily “Jutarnji list” which claims that Jeremic “lied about scheduling a debate about Hague Tribunal in the United Nations”.
Jeremic rejected the claims made in the article on Twitter, while Luka Misetic linked to the article and wrote that Jeremic just talks a lot, but does nothing.
To this tweet Jeremic replied: “Would you accept to be my lawyer if I decide to sue Jutarnji list for libel?”, to which Misetic retorted that he couldn’t do that because he is “currently occupied making a lawsuit agains high UN official who is trying to dispute a sentence by his own court”.
Jeremic then replied: “I knew from the beginning that I can’t hire you, I am not your type. I don’t have anyone’s blood on my hands…”
President of the General Assembly of the United Nations Vuk Jeremic has scheduled a public debate for April 10th 2013 in the UN Assembly about the international ad hoc crime tribunals’ role in establishing justice and reconciliation between nations.
Jeremic claims that the Hague Tribunal’s decision to set the Croatian generals free is a blow to UN’s reputation.
Jeremic considers that the decision made by the appeal council of the Hague Tribunal caused an understandable bitterness in many parts of the world.
”It is an indisputable fact that around quarter of a million Serbs has been driven from their homes in a matter of days, and that the court founded to investigate such crimes basically decided that nobody is guilty nor responsible for this”, Jeremic said.
“It could be further concluded that the crime didn’t actually happen, which is evidently in collision with the reality” Jeremic added.
“I think that the full understanding of the Hague Tribunal’s work and it’s consenquences has to be made available to the international public, in order to make possible for history to be the final judge, and that we make sure that crime is never again given amnesty and proclaimed a virtue”, Jeremic said.
“I am convinced that the true reconciliation and turning a new page in relations between the divided nations is not possible if it is based on negating and glorification of a crime, because that would basically be an encouragment to repeat those crimes”, concluded president of the UN General Assembly.
Minister of Kosovo security forces Agim Ceku thinks that Ramus Haradinay will be set free by the Hague Tribunal on 29th of November, and announces that he will be given officially organized welcome in Pristina.
The Hague Tribunal announced that, on 29th of November, a sentence will be brought regarding former Kosovo PM Haradinaj, Idriz Baljaj and Ljahi Brahimaj, charged for crimes against Serbs and other non-Albanian population on Kosovo in 1998.
Ceku said that Haradinaj will be welcomed in Pristina the same way Croatia organized welcome to their generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, who were free of charges for crimes during operation “Storm” in 1995.
The prosecution demanded prison sentences for the charged in duration of 20 years and over, while the defense asked for their release.
Haradinay is in house arrest in Kosovo, and should return to Scheveningen prison facility before reading of his sentence.
He and Baljaj were freed of all charges on April 3rd 2008, after a three-year trial, while Brahimaj was sentenced to six years in prison.
However, the Hague Tribunal decided on July 21st july 2010 that the trial should be partly repeated. It is the first case of a retrial in the history of the court.
Haradinaj was elected Kosovo prime minister in 2004, but resigned in March the following year after charges were brought against him in the Hague, and agreed voluntarily to go to court.
Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were released of all charges today and have to be immediately set free, announced judge Teodor Meron in the courtroom of International Crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at today’s court ruling on crimes over Serbian civilians commited during Croatian military operation “Storm”.
The appeal court of the ICTY has overturned the decision of preliminary judgement that a joint criminal conspiracy took place during the operation. The appeal court also concluded that generals Gotovina and Markac were not members of a criminal conspiracy.
The court concluded that the mass migration of civilians at the time could not be defined as a deportation.
Gotovina was sentenced on 15. april 2011 to 24 years in prison, and Markac to 18 years, and the remaining member of the “Croatian three” general Ivan Cermak was found innocent and the prosecutors did not appeal that verdict.
Such court decision caused massive dissatisfaction in Serbia.
During the military operation “Storm” over 2000 Serbs were either killed or proclaimed missing, most of them civilians. Between 250 000 and 300 000 refugees came to Serbia after the operation “Storm”.