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The closure of the Hague Tribunal: mission accomplished
Material posted: Publication date: 26-12-2017
The Hague Tribunal accepted a number of high profile solutions for military and political leaders of former Yugoslav republics was officially over. While in a number of appeals against the verdicts of this court are still pending, will do it later is a different structure of the international residual mechanism for criminal tribunals (MOMUC). The work of the ICTY lasted almost 25 years.

International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague on Thursday, December 21, has officially completed its work. This is the first international Tribunal for war crimes committed during a military conflict since the activities of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials of leaders of Nazi Germany and Japan, the former during the Second world war, its ally.

The Hague Tribunal was created in 1993 on the basis of the relevant resolution of the UN security Council, the emergence of this body was supported by many countries-Chelny organizations, including Russia. As stated on the official website of the ICTY, at the closing ceremony of the Tribunal was attended by representatives of various countries-UN members, including all former Yugoslav republics, as well as heads of international and regional non-governmental organizations. The event was attended by the king of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander and the UN Secretary General Antonio of Gutteres. At the ceremony, in addition, visited the judges, prosecutors and staff of the ICTY lower rank.

Earlier in December, in his speech before the UN Security Council the President of the Tribunal Carmel Agius stressed that "mission accomplished" and after more than 24 years of its operation, the Tribunal has completed all the legal work. According to him, the establishment of the ICTY was "a turning point for the entire international community".

International criminal justice, said Agius will always be expensive, take a long time and look heavy, but "for the alternative when no one will do anything and will open the way for impunity have to pay a much higher price."

During its work, nearly a quarter of a century, the court held a trial on the case of 161 people. Under the Tribunal got almost all the civil and military leadership of Serbia, Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska Krajina in Croatia, including former presidents, Cabinet members, chiefs of the General staff, senior military commanders, heads of security agencies and special services. A total of 90 people were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment for genocide, crimes against humanity, violation of the laws or customs of war and grave breaches of the Geneva conventions.

The Hague Tribunal has considered the case against the people involved in war crimes during the civil war in Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1996, the conflict in Kosovo in 1997-1998, as well as military confrontation in Macedonia. In all these events was attended by five parties: the Serbs, the Croats, the Muslim Bosniaks, Albanians and Macedonians. As has been noted by various experts and parties to the conflict, including a volunteer from Russia and Ukraine Oleg Valetsky, subsequently wrote several books about the war in the former Yugoslav republics, war crimes against each other really did absolutely all sides of the conflict.

All told, the Hague Tribunal has sentenced 105 representatives of different military formations and the Yugoslav military, those opposed to the Croats, in line with only 16 of them. The sentences received 38 Croats (12 of them justified), 17 Muslims-Bosniaks (justified three of them). Many acquittals were rendered in Albanian combatants — the fault in their actions the court has found in six cases out of nine. Also in the Hague was considered by the criminal cases two representatives of the Macedonia — one were acquitted, and the second was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

During the work of the ICTY was made a few loud sentences. So, to life imprisonment was sentenced by the commander of the Bosnian Serb army and Yugoslav General Ratko Mladic, he was found guilty in the deaths of civilians during the siege of Sarajevo, genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes. The President of the Republic of Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Radovan Karadzic received 40 years for the same acts and for the hostage-taking of UN staff. He for a long time successfully hiding from the investigation: completely changing the appearance, after the war he lived in Belgrade and was practicing medicine (the first education policies was a neuropsychologist).

And former defense Minister of Yugoslavia, Veljko kadievich, who took part in the Second world war, disappeared from the ICTY in Russia where he was granted citizenship.

He died in 2014 year in Moscow, before his death, writing several books about the events in the Balkans.

Several high-profile deaths occurred within the walls of the Hague Tribunal. 11 Mar 2006 there died, the former President of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic, who was accused of involvement in murder, persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds and forced deportation. The death of the policy was the result of a heart attack. Later, the court, considering the case of Karadzic, came to the conclusion that Milosevic was innocent of several crimes in which he was accused. Died of brain cancer in prison in the Hague and former President of Serbian Krajina (Serbian autonomy in Croatia) Goran Hadzic. And 29 November this year during the announcement of the decision on their appeal has committed suicide, the Croatian General Slobodan praljak began to present whom the court found guilty of several crimes that occurred during the war in the Bosnian city of Mostar. The victim did not agree with the fact that he was found guilty, and voluntarily retired from life.

The scandal ended with the trial against Croatian General Ante Gotovina. He was accused of involvement in the massacres, forced displacement, violation of the rules and customs of war during the operation "Storm" vs Serbian Krajina. Initially, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison, which caused mass protests in Croatia, where the officer perceived as a national hero. In the end, the appellate court fully acquitted Gotovina. Similarly ended the trial of the former commander of Srebrenica group of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina Naser orić. It was he who led units of the Muslims-Bosniaks who acted against the Serbs in Eastern Bosnia. Serbian military leaders have repeatedly argued that the actions of its units has led to the scandalous operations of the Serbian military assault on Srebrenica, which ended the genocide in this village. Initially, according to the decision of the Hague court he received two years ' imprisonment, but appealed the verdict and was acquitted.

However, the most controversial decision of the ICTY can be considered a sentence to one of the commanders of the Kosovo units that were part of the Liberation army of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj. This group sought independence for the province from Yugoslavia by force of arms. He was indicted on 37 counts of torture of prisoners, kidnapping of civilians, mass killings and other criminal activities.

Despite the numerous testimonies against him, Haradinaj was twice acquitted. Nine witnesses who had given evidence against him, died before the end not found out circumstances.

One of the most unexpected was the decision of the ICTY on 31 March 2016, when he was acquitted the leader of the Serbian radical party Vojislav Seselj. He was accused of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war between 1991 and 1993 in Croatia, Vojvodina (Serbia), Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was the 19th and the recent acquittal by the ICTY. In total Seselj has already spent in custody of 11.5 years. This is an absolute record of the Tribunal for the length of stay in detention of the suspect. Also šešelj became the first defendant in the history of the ICTY, against which in the course of one trial was conducted three trials on charges of contempt of court (sentences on them he had served while in custody awaiting verdict of the basic).

Although the ICTY formally completed on 21 December, not all businesses are still closed. The rest of them will deal with the international residual mechanism for criminal tribunals (MOMUC). This structure was created by the UN security Council specifically to complete the work begun by the ICTY and the International criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She will consider the appeal of the Prosecutor's office in the case of Seselj. In the pre-appeal stage is the case of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The same authority deals with issues related to the upcoming appeal of the commander of the Bosnian Serb army Ratko Mladic on a life sentence. In addition, the Tribunal reviews the case of two former employees of the state security service of Yugoslavia Jovica stanišić and Franko Simatović.

Vladimir Vashchenko


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