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Moscow demands abolition of Hague Tribunal

July 12, 2010

Moscow demands abolition of Hague Tribunal

On Thursday, Moscow demanded that the international community abolish the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as soon as possible.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said the Hague Tribunal's decision to acquit Naser Oric, a former Bosnian Muslim military officer during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, showed that it lacked impartiality, and that justice was being substituted by a political decision.

Analysts link Moscow's statement with its desire to establish positive relations with the new Serbian government.

On July 3, the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY acquitted Oric, who had commanded the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina forces in the Srebrenica enclave in Eastern Bosnia surrounded by Serb forces.

In 2009, the ICTY only found Oric guilty of not preventing war crimes committed by his subordinates and sentenced him to two years in prison. Oric was released because he had already served that term at a preliminary detention ward.

Nesterenko told journalists on Sunday that Oric was suspected of masterminding the massacre of over 3,000 Serbians who had lived in villages around Srebrenica in 1992-1995. "For unknown reasons, the ICTY has mitigated the unprecedentedly mild sentence and has completely exonerated the defendant," Nesterenko said.

The ICTY's impartiality has been repeatedly found questionable, which causes Russia's discontent. Vitaly Churkin, Russia's current Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations, made a similar statement at a June 4 meeting of the UN Security Council, which assessed the ICTY's work.

At that time, the ICTY was criticized for acquitting Ramush Haradinaj, a former guerrilla leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and later the prime minister of Kosovo.

Serbian political and military analyst Gostimir Popovic said Moscow's demarche with regard to the ICTY strove to expose the biased Western foreign policy and that the demand to abolish the tribunal was a friendly gesture with regard to the new Serbian government. He also believes that even pro-EU politicians had a negative opinion of the tribunal's work.

Popovic's conjecture is proved by opinion polls conducted in Serbia earlier in the week. In all, 87% of Serbians, including Bosniak Rasim Ljajic, the current Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Affairs of Serbia and president of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, doubt the ICTY's fairness and objectivity.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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