Saturday, December 1, 2012

ICTY verdicts do not justify Croatia, Kosovo wars

GRAZ - Croatia and Kosovo should not see the rulings on Gotovina and Haradinaj as a vindication of their supposedly 'just' wars, Florian Bieber, professor and director at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, has said.

  In an article for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) posted online Thursday, Bieber said that the release of Haradinaj had been widely expected even before the “surprise acquittal” of Croat generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac two weeks earlier. The consequences of the rulings at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will have negative repercussions on domestic politics in Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia, he said. “In Serbia the credibility of 

The Hague court was already low,” Bieber said, adding that “the acquittals compound the perception of an unjust court that is unable or unwilling to penalize non-Serbs,” while “in Croatia and possibly in Kosovo even more so, the acquittals are wrongly seen as a vindication for supposedly just wars.” “Sentencing Gotovina or Haradinaj would have not meant that the wars fought by the Croatian army or by the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) would have been per definition unjust, nor does the acquittal suggest the opposite,” says Beiber. 

“The rulings simply free certain individuals from criminal responsibility, largely based on narrow technical grounds,” says Beiber, observing that “just as the International Court of Justice did not rule on the substance of Kosovo's declaration of independence, the ICTY did not rule on the substance of the wars.” “The acquittals force human rights activities and scholars to take a hard look at the overreliance on the ICTY as the ultimate arbiter over guilt in relation to the Yugoslav wars,” he said, pointing out that the ICTY “just made this job a whole lot harder.”

No comments:

Post a Comment