PM, president: Hague makes political decisions

BELGRADE -- Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolić and PM Ivica Dačić have assessed after the acquittal of two Croat generals that the Hague Tribunal is "not a court".

Ivica Dačić and Tomislav Nikolić (Tanjug, file)
Ivica Dačić and Tomislav Nikolić (Tanjug, file)

They added that and that the decision was political, rather than legal.

“This confirms claims of those who say that the Hague Tribunal is not a court and that it completes political tasks that were set in advance,” Dačić said at the beginning of his meeting with EULEX Head Xavier Bout de Marnhac, Radio Free Europe has reported.

The Serbian president assessed that it was clear that the Tribunal’s decision to acquit Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač of all charges for expulsion of the Serbian population from Knin Krajina in 1995 is political and not legal.

“Today’s decision of the Hague Tribunal will not contribute to stabilization of the situation in the region, it will open up old wounds and it will put Serbs in Croatia, the small number who continued to live there, in a position of culprits that everybody can continue to enforce their ‘justice’ upon, without any punishment,” Nikolić pointed out.

He stressed that more than 220,000 Serbs had been expelled during the Operation Storm and that thousands of unarmed men, women and children had been killed.

“Who is responsible for that? With the Hague Tribunal’s decision Croatia can legitimately celebrate the biggest pogrom in the world since WWII. This is a state that does not allow the families of the missing Serbs to determine where bodies of their loved ones are,” the president said.

“If there have been reasons so far to believe those who claim that the Hague Tribunal is neutral, just and something more than a court for Serbia and the Serbian people, the latest decision to acquit the war criminals denied them,” Nikolić noted.

The president pointed out that the Serbian people had been a victim of genocide, the cruelest crimes, expulsion and torture in their recent history and that the Serbs had been branded as criminals who should keep quiet and be ashamed of themselves.

“This is a paradox that must not happen ever again,” he added.

Gotovina and Markač were on Friday acquitted of almost all charges for crimes against Serb civilians during and after the Operation Storm in 1995. Gotovina was initially sentenced to 24 and Markač to 18 years in prison.