President: Facing injustice elevates, unites Serbs

KRALJEVO -- The new acquittal of persons charged with war crimes against Serbs "is the moment when all Serbs should exit the Hague", according to Tomislav Nikolić.

Nikolić is seen in Kraljevo on Thursday (Tanjug)
Nikolić is seen in Kraljevo on Thursday (Tanjug)

The president was in the central Serbian town of Kraljevo, honoring its WW2 defenders, when the news reached him of the acquittal by the Hague Tribunal of Ramush Haradinaj.

"I don't think they have appraised us well. Injustice of this magnitude can only elevate, never bring down and disappoint Serbs. We are a people who suffer injustice with pride, and perhaps a new unity and peace among Serbians can result from this. Now it is clear that they do not consider the religion, gender or ethnicity of people in Serbia, they seek to make everyone who lives in Serbia suffer, for as long as global power-wielders wish so," he was quoted as saying.

Nikolić also stated that those Serbs accused by the same court should now be set free:

"It seems to me that we today have an opportunity to be proud of what they're doing to us. We are used to suffering and to others trying to own our destinies. This is the hour at which all Serbs should exit the Hague Tribunal - if (Croatian) Operation Storm was no crime, and Haradinaj committed no crime, how could they find that a Serb politician, military or police commander had committed a crime."

According to the president, Serbia's claim has now been proven for everyone to see: that the Hague Tribunal is not a just court, and that its goal is to convict Serbs as a nation, and all Serb states, to "forever bow their heads in front of some crimes".

He also warned that acquittals by the Hague earlier this month of former Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač will leave "indelible consequences on regional relations":

"It cannot happen for us to continue with the same ties that we had with our neighbors, after all this has happened. If somebody was out to drive a wedge between us, they found the right way to do it. I had this great idea to take part in the reconciliation of all peoples, and it started with Macedonia and Hungary, and all that will come to a stop now because those who are talking us into cooperating and living in peace are in fact doing all they can so that we don't reconcile."

Nikolić announced that Serbian First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić will likely attend the UN Security Council session on December 5, while he himself intends to take part in the UN General Assembly meeting next year, "and say, on their behalf, everything that the citizens too think about the Hague Tribunal, international justice, and relations between peoples".

The goal of the acquittals by the Hague in the past weeks, he continued, was on the one hand "a desire of a part of the international community to allow Croatia to join the EU clean, and lead its process against Serbia and the Serb nation", while on the other, to allow the interim institutions in Priština to negotiate with Belgrade "unburdened by the crimes committed by the KLA".

Nikolić also appealed on all politicians in Serbia to now look for what can bring the citizens together - "and that is a desire for Serbia to survive" - and leave the differences aside "for better times".

"Until elections, a task is ahead of us that nobody can accomplish alone, we must talk with (ethnic) Albanians, but under a completely new relationship, now that it's clear to us what those who claim they do not want, in fact want. They want an independent Kosovo and for us to speak to such a state," the president said, and added:

"No politician with the people behind them will speak to such a state."