"Hague achieved no reconciliation, but had credible results"

Serge Brammertz says it is hard to disagree with those who say the Hague Tribunal (ICTY) has not achieved reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia.

Source: B92, Beta
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the ICTY, which recently concluded its work, now prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals, spoke before the UN Security Council on Wednesday during a session dedicate to the final report on ICTY's work.

According to him, it becamse obvious over the last two weeks that crimes had left wounds that are yet to heal. "Many still viewed convicted war criminals as heroes while victims and survivors were ignored and dismissed," he said.

According to Brammertz, painful facts are still being openly denied or rejected by pointing out to the crimes committed by others.

"The reality is that there is still no true will within the region to accept the immense wrongdoings of the past and move forward - sadly, most of all among the political leadership,” he said.

Too many people listen to war criminals, who hide behind claims of collective responsibility, when in fact no community bore responsibility, Brammertz said.

According to him, the tribunal always insisted on the principle of individual criminal responsibility. "The fact is that crimes have not been committed by nations, but by individuals, and above all, high political and military leaders. I will be crystal clear: no community bears responsibility for what those men have done," Brammertz said.

He underlined that "much remains to be done" as "many victims still await justice."

"The countries of the region need support, as before, they will not be able to achieve justice and reconciliation by themselves," Brammertz said.

The prosecutor said the Hague Tribunal "leaves a rich and complex heritage" because "many victims and survivors have to some extent seen the satisfaction of justice for the great evils that they suffered."

"We believe our results are credible," Brammertz assessed, stating that the tribunal "significantly contributed maintaining international peace and security."

Speaking during the same session, ICTY President Carmel Agius said that after more than 24 years of operations, the United Nations tribunal has now completed all judicial work.

“Despite all the skeptics, the naysayers, the deniers who, from the very beginning, embarked on a campaign against the Tribunal and have been at pains to question our legitimacy and integrity and portray a doomsday scenario, I am proud to appear before this esteemed Council today and say: mission accomplished,” said he.

Recalling the Security Council’s decision to create the Tribunal back in May 1993,Agius stated: “In retrospect the establishment of the ICTY was one of the international community’s proudest moments.”

"Selective justice"

In her remarks before the Security Council, Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic said that the Hague tribunal had delivered "selective justice."

As proof, Kuburovic cited the fact that of the 161 persons the tribunal had indicted, 109 were Serbs.

"Among the convicted, 70 percent are Serbs", the Serbian justice minister said.

Recollecting that hundreds of thousands of Serbs had been driven out of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, Kuburovic said that the tribunal had not convicted almost anyone for those crimes.

She dismissed the claims in the reports of the president and chief prosecutor of the Tribunal about Serbia not cooperating in the case against members of the Serbian Radical Party Petar Jojic and Vjerica Radeta, who are accused of contempt of the Tribunal.

Kuburovic said that the estimate of the Tribunal's officials about there being "no political will" for that in Belgrade was "wrong and unacceptable." She recollected that the court in Belgrade had rejected the request from The Hague for arresting and extraditing Jojic and Radeta "based on the law, harmonized with the Tribunal's statute."

Kuburovic urged the Security Council to consider Serbia's proposal for its citizens convicted by the Tribunal to serve sentences in Serbian prisons.

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