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Public UN Debate About The Hague Tribunal

Nov 20th, 2012 | By | In Controversy, Current, Earlier


Vuk Jeremić, President of the United Nations General Assembly

Ad Hoc Tribunals Public Debate in the UN Scheduled for April 2013

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Vuk Jeremić has called a public debate for April 10, 2013 on the role and performance of international ad hoc criminal tribunals founded by the UN in achieving justice and reconciliation among nations.

Acquittal of Croat War Criminals Blow to the UN Reputation

The debate is a reaction to the decision of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Appeals Chamber to acquit former Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač. In Jeremić’s opinion, the acquittal struck a blow to the UN’s reputation.

The decision of the Appeals Chamber of the Hague Tribunal related to Operation Storm understandably caused indignation in many parts of the world. It is an undeniable fact that about a quarter of a million Serbs were driven out of their homes in the space of only several days, and that the court, set up to investigate such misdeeds, in effect decided that no one was guilty or responsible. This could lead to a conclusion that no crime in fact took place, which evidently stands in contrast with reality, Jeremić said in the release.

Jeremić believes that a full understanding of the work of the ICTY and its consequences must be accessible to the wide international public, so that history can have the final say, and so that it never happens anywhere again that evil deeds are pardoned and declared a virtue.

He said that considering that the UN was the founder of ad-hoc courts, he had decided to schedule the public debate to discuss their performance and the level to which they fulfill their original purpose.

It is my personal opinion that the decision of the Appeals Chamber of the Hague Tribunal has dealt a blow to the reputation of the United Nations, but I allow for the possibility that as a member of the nation whose expulsion was legalized by this act, I may be somewhat subjective on this issue, said the UNGA president.

UN Debate Open to International Law Experts and Associations

The debate will be open not only to states, but also to the academic community, distinguished individuals and civil associations, Jeremić said.

Jeremić said he was strongly convinced that reconciliation and a fresh start in relations between feuding nations cannot be based on denial and glorification of crime, because that essentially represents an incentive for crimes to be repeated.

This is why I have scheduled a debate entitled ‘The role of the international judiciary in achieving reconciliation’ for April 10, 2013 at the UNGA in New York, concluded Jeremić.

Integral Text of Jeremić’s Release

The decision of the Hague Tribunal’s Appeals Chamber in regards to the Operation Storm caused understandable indignation in many parts of the world. It is an undeniable fact that about a quarter of a million Serbs were driven out of their homes in the space of only several days, and that the court, set up to investigate such crimes, in effect decided that no one was guilty or responsible for this act.

Subsequently, this could lead to a conclusion that in fact no crime took place, which evidently stands in contrast with reality.

I believe that the full insight in the workings of the Hague tribunal and its consequences must be accessible to the wide international public, in order to enable history to reach its final conclusion, and so that it never happens anywhere again that evil deeds are pardoned and declared a virtue.

This is why I have decided to exercise the powers of the President of the UN General Assembly and schedule a public debate about the role of the international ad hoc crime tribunals in attaining justice and reconciliation among the nations. Considering that the UN itself was the founder of ad hoc tribunals, I believe it is appropriate to discuss their performance right here, as well as debate about the degree to which such tribunals have fulfilled their initial purpose.

It is my personal opinion the decision of the Hague Tribunal’s Appeals Chamber has struck a blow to the UN reputation, but being a member of the nation whose expulsion from their homesteads was legalized by this act, I allow the possibility that I may be somewhat subjective on this issue.

For this reason, I will open the UN General Assembly Debate for the wide public and allow not only states, but also the academic community, distinguished individuals and civic associations to take part.

I am strongly convinced true reconciliation and turning a new page in relations between the feuding nations cannot be established upon denial and glorification of crimes, because that essentially represents an incentive for crimes to be repeated. This is why I have scheduled a debate entitled ‘The role of the international judiciary in achieving reconciliation’ for April 10, 2013 at the UNGA in New York.

Links to Related Articles in Serbian Media

Being that the information about the upcoming public UN debate doesn’t seem to deserve attention of the Western mainstream media, here is some of the coverage from the Serbian press (in English), including the early attempts to prevent the debate taking place:

Pocar: Fatal errors of ICTY
UNGA to hold public debate in wake of Hague ruling
Jeremić: Pressure will not make me cancel debate
Vuk Jeremić schedules debate on Hague Tribunal at UN
Hague judge says justice has not been served

Malta News, Judge Carmel Agius
Judge hits out at ‘confusing, extremely problematic’ acquittal of Gotovina, Markac

Related PDF Documents, ICTY

Prosecutor v Ante Gotovina Mladen Markac, integral ICTY Appeals Chamber document

Dissenting Opinion of Judge Fausto Pocar

Dissenting Opinion of Judge Carmel Agius

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