Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

The Second Declaration of Serbian Intellectuals for the Termination of the Proceedings against Radovan Karadzic

Tribunal Update 48: Last Week in The Hague (October 13 - 17)
By IWPR ICTY

A total of 60 prominent Serbian intellectuals - members of the Academy of Sciences, university professors (even those teaching international law) and writers - adopted "The Second Declaration on Terminating the Proceedings of the Hague Tribunal against Dr Radovan Karadzic."

The first such declaration was issued in June last year. Since it obviously failed to produce desired effects, its authors and signatories decided to once again pronounce in public about what troubles them.

The declaration states baldly: "From its illegal founding until today", the Tribunal was and continues to be "exclusively an instrument for the persecution of Serbs". It claims that the Tribunal "cannot hide disgusting crimes that were committed by Muslims and Croats against Serbs."

The signatories deem it "obvious that the prime goal of the Tribunal is to compromise, vilify and humiliate the Serbs to the greatest possible extent," just as it is also obvious that with the "drafting of secret lists and the real hunt of the Serbs….the Tribunal has violated international law and the UN Charter."

The learned individuals, naturally, did not allow themselves to be confused by some prosaic facts: such as the one concerning the ethnic composition of the present population of the Tribunal's Detention Unit: 14 Croats, 3 Muslims and 3 Serbs. Even less did they allow themselves to be confused by the fact that the Celebici trial has been underway in The Hague for six months.

In this trial, three Muslims and one Croat are tried for the alleged crimes against the Serbs. True, they may not be aware of this process, since it practically does not exist for the official media in Serbia, which is illustrative of an enviable extent of ignorance towards one's own victims.

The signatories demand that the procedure against Dr Radovan Karadzic be terminated, since it is "clear already today" (it does not say to whom) that the proceedings "are not legally founded and have nothing to do with international law and the functioning of the legal systems in the world."

The declaration maintains that it is only because "the enemies of the Serbian people have noted extraordinary abilities and the authority of Dr Karadzic" that the international community is attempting "to paralyze every political and social activity of the Serbian people."

The signatories are only "reminding that the war on the territory of former Yugoslavia, was started by Alija Izetbegovic and Franjo Tudjman. Loads (sic) of documents that the enemies of the Serbs are carefully guarding in their secret archives represent a testimony to this." The signatories did not think it necessary to explain how they discovered and gained access to these "secret archives".

This is how many of the most prominent Serbian individuals write about the Tribunal: members of the Academy, university professors - some of whom teach international law. Not only do they write it. They also believe it. Moreover, what they believe, they also preach from their academic and university pulpits. Keeping in mind the possible consequences of such lectures and the how they might influence the next generation of legal minds in Serbia, Tribunal Update respectfully proposes an amendment to those articles of the Tribunal's Statute (24-2) and the Rules of the Procedure and Evidence (101-B) which concern the factors that the Trial Chamber shall take into account in determining the sentence.

The essence of the amendment is the following: the accused, who is proved beyond reasonable doubt to have been a student of these academics and professors, or those defendents who had to read at least two books by writers from the same list, -will have this accepted by the court as mitigating circumstances. Such an amendment, we are convinced, would be in the best interest of international justice.