HELSINŠKE SVESKE №07: The Hague Tribunal Discord Between Us and The World Cover Image

HELSINŠKE SVESKE №07: Haški Tribunal, naš nesporazum sa svetom
HELSINŠKE SVESKE №07: The Hague Tribunal Discord Between Us and The World

Author(s): Milivoj Despot, Vladimir Ilić
Subject(s): Politics, International Law, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, International relations/trade, Security and defense, Post-War period (1950 - 1989), Transformation Period (1990 - 2010)
Published by: Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji
Keywords: Hague Tribunal;ex – Yugoslavia; war crimes; international law; UN; security council; US; victims of war; protection; Serbia; NATO; Carla Del Ponte; Vojislav Koštunica; Slobodan Milošević; intellectuals;
Summary/Abstract: Much was written and said about the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (the Hague Tribunal). And as it usually happens with respect to momentous events, essential things about the Hague Tribunal were committed, notably in view of the fact that in recent wars in the territory of ex- Yugoslavia many crimes were committed and that their perpetrators and accomplices are to be brought to justice and punished. But according to some weird logic, much hyped are opinions of many politicians and some jurists, that the Hague Tribunal is not an institution of justice, but rather a foreign political instrument for trying Serbs, and as such "it should be totally disregarded and vilifed". Exceptions from this general line of thinking were public discussions on the Hague Tribunal staged by some renowned NGOs and institutions and published in some dailies and magazines. The Hague Tribunal was established as an adequate response of international community to drastic violations of international law. During recent wars in the territory of former Yugoslavia, war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed. The authorities in place hushed up those crimes, downplayed atrocities and covered up the truth. A very small number of people knew what had really happened. As trials were not held before national courts, the International Criminal Tribunal was set up to establish facts in lawful proceedings, to make them public and bring to justice perpetrators of the crimes. There is also another question: Do the trials before the Hague Tribunal have a special significance? Diplomatic means and sanctions were used to put en end to war and ensure peace. But neither were successful. The Dayton and the Paris accord stopped the war, but did not consolidate the peace. Consolidation of peace is not a declaration, but a process. In that process a specific place was accorded to the Hague Tribunal. Within general efforts aimed at re-establishing peace and security in the territory of former Yugoslavia, decisions of the Hague Tribunal have a repressive importance regarding war criminals and a preventive importance regarding every high-ranking politician and military officer. In the second half of the Twentieth Century, international law, thanks to momentous transformation of legal provisions relating to conduct of states and individuals in armed conflicts, and under strong influence of affirmation of human rights stipulated by international covenants, established international individual criminal responsibility of those who gravely violated humanitarian law relating to armed conflicts. If the Hague Tribunal carries out its repressive and preventive tasks and consequently contributes to international justice and legality, stances on war and peace shall be different. In those terms the practice of the Hague Tribunal complements future efficiency of permanent International Criminal Court. Irrefutable legal assumption is that the Hague Tribunal acts as an authorised ad hoc international criminal court and that its decisions should consolidate respect of human rights, peace and international justice. Its Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence, its orders and warrants transmitted to the states, members of the UN, and obligations of those states to comply with those orders, are in keeping with the international law. Awareness of the obligation that perpetrators of crimes must be handed over to the Hague Tribunal, leads to the replacement of the legal assumption by the truth.

  • Page Count: 115
  • Publication Year: 2001
  • Language: Serbian