"April debate on Hague cannot be canceled"

NEW YORK -- UNGA President Vuk Jeremić's decision to schedule a public debate on international ad-hoc tribunals for the next April will not change, and it is irrevocable.

Tanjug news agency reported that it learned this from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Secretariat.

There is no legal basis or mechanism to prevent the debate that has been scheduled, Tanjug correspondent was told in the Secretariat.

He said that it is true that a UNGA session was held on October 15 at which International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) President Theodor Meron submitted the report on the Tribunal's work in the previous year, which was also done by the president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, explaining that the UNGA rules of procedure allows scheduling of a thematic public debate.

A thematic public debate is broader than previously scheduled items, which involve only state representatives, as an invitation for the debate can also be sent to representatives of citizens' organizations, NGOs, academic experts and individuals, the UN top official added.

The list of participants and speakers is determined by the UNGA president.

Aside the debate on the role and work of the ad-hoc international criminal tribunals, a few more similar debates and public discussions have been scheduled - a debate on consultative mechanism between the UNGA and G20 member states, a debate on climate and clean energy, and a public debate on the international development of culture in cooperation with UNESCO.

However, Jeremić's decision to schedule the public debate on international criminal tribunals for April was not welcomed in Washington, Tanjug learned.

We are not satisfied with that, particularly because everything was scheduled quickly and suddenly, said an official of the U.S. Department of State, who wanted to stay anonymous, adding that he believes that the upcoming debate will be used for Serbia's propaganda.

However, he added that the scheduling of the debate was within the jurisdictions of the UNGA president, and that there was no violation of the rules.

Once the UN public debate ends on April 10, 2013, Jeremić will compose a presidential statement, which will present a summary of the entire discussion, and that will be an official document of the world organization.

The document will later be filed to the UN member states, and all other important international organizations.