YU foreign minister demands Krajisnik's release, condemns Hague court

April 7, 2000

Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic has sent a letter to the UN Security Council condemning the arrest of the former Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik who is to stand trial in The Hague for war crimes. He called for Krajisnik to be freed, describing his arrest as politically motivated. He also accused the Hague-based tribunal of acting on the orders of the US government. The following is the text of the letter carried by the Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug:

Belgrade, 6th April: On the occasion of the criminal arrest of [former leading Bosnian Serb politician] Momcilo Krajisnik on the part of SFOR [Stabilization Force], [Yugoslav] federal Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic has sent a letter on behalf of the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia [FRY] to the UN Security Council addressed to current president, Canadian Ambassador Robert R. Fowler. The letter reads as follows:

"Esteemed president: the Yugoslav government and public have most strongly condemned the treacherous and shameful arrest of Momcilo Krajisnik, one of the most prominent leaders of the Serb people in Bosnia-Hercegovina, carried out on the night of 3rd April 2000 by SFOR on the orders of NATO.

"This arrest, carried out in a terrorist manner, using explosives to break into the house, frightening and tying up children in a Gestapo fashion, is only the latest and most drastic in a series of criminal, immoral and politically motivated NATO acts under the guise of the Hague Tribunal, whose aim is to frighten and subjugate the Serb nation.

"Momcilo Krajisnik was not only the speaker of the Serb Republic parliament, elected to that post in democratic elections according to the people's will, the result of which was confirmed by the OSCE, but also a member of the collective Presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the highest Serb Republic representative at the Dayton negotiations. Therefore this brazen criminal act is all the more absurd, because Momcilo Krajisnik has never held any executive office, apart from being elected a member of Bosnia-Hercegovina Presidency following the Dayton-Paris agreement.

"This insolent act confirms what the FRY government has been pointing out since the Tribunal was founded: that this ad hoc body, essentially contrary to the principle of international criminal and humanitarian law, is not an institution of law and justice, but a political creation whose purpose is to commit genocide against the Serb nation.

"The Tribunal is not acting according with law or international law, but the orders of the US administration with a view to imposing hegemony and a single will.

"If the Tribunal really acted on the basis of justice and law, it would then above all have to call to account those NATO leaders and individuals responsible for the genocidal aggression against the FRY committed through the crudest violation of the UN Charter, international law, the national right of the member countries, as well as the NATO founding document itself.

"Were it a forum of justice, it would have long ago indicted those leaders who ordered and commanded the aggression against the FRY, who ordered the mindless raids on a sovereign country and against an entire nation, something without precedent in the history of civilization, who ordered the killing of thousands of innocent people, one third of whom were children, and over four fifths civilians, killing patients in hospitals, razing hundreds of schools, a huge number of hospitals, maternity wards, refugee camps, heating and power-line systems, television and radio stations, refineries, roads, bridges, and suchlike.

"At a time when genocide against the Serb and other non-Albanian people is going on before the eyes of the world's public in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, the Tribunal has not made a single attempt to stop that continuous crime.

"The absence of indictments and arrests of those responsible for the genocide against the Serbs in Croatia at the time of Operations Flash and Storm [Croatian Army operations to liberate Serb-occupied regions of Croatia in 1995], as well as during the civil war in Bosnia-Hercegovina, represents a planned incitement of new crimes against the Serbs, as it was clear that they can be committed with impunity. They can even be committed by the same criminals who acquired their criminal experience in Krajina and in other parts of former Yugoslavia.

"Internationally renowned legal experts have expressed their view that the Tribunal is not based upon the UN Charter, because there is no legal basis for founding a judicial body, auxiliary to the Security Council. All international courts are founded exclusively through agreements. The fact that the Tribunal has been founded because of political goals and manipulations with the international public can be most clearly seen when one compares the rules of procedure of the Tribunal and of the Permanent International Criminal Court, particularly regarding the position of prosecutor. The rules that the Tribunal uses in its procedure do not exist in any modern judicial system. The so-called "secret indictments" are unknown to any judicial system. The prosecution policy conducted by the Tribunal's prosecutor demonstrates that the Tribunal is being exploited politically by the US Administration and the NATO countries. More than two thirds of those arrested and indicted are Serbs, including the highest political and military officials of the Serb Republic, against whom the most serious accusations have been brought and who are the only ones to have been arrested in a brutal way.

"The work of the prosecutor and Tribunal so far has clearly demonstrated that the US creators of the Tribunal have been trying to impose the idea of the Serbs being responsible for the civil war in Yugoslavia and thereby conceal their own responsibility for crimes. The Tribunal is a mechanism for fabricating an excuse for the aggression against the FRY and the genocide against the Serb nation.

"The Tribunal is failing to demonstrate any legal, political, or moral responsibility for its work. This is demonstrated, among other things through the murders of Serbs during their arrests (Simo Drljaca and Dragan Gakovic) and the inhuman attitude towards those arrested (the tragic death of Slavko Dokmanovic and Milan Kovacevic in the Hague prison).

"As a signatory and guarantor of the Dayton-Paris agreement, the FRY points out that such an activity on the part of the Tribunal represents a drastic violation of the letter and essence of that agreement, the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international law in general, thereby jeopardizing peace and security not only in Bosnia-Hercegovina, but also throughout the region.

"Because of everything here presented, the FRY is calling on the Security Council urgently to abolish the Hague Tribunal as a creation without any legal foundation.

"The evidence possessed by this quasi-judicial institution should be handed to regular courts of UN member countries in order that they may act in line with their domestic laws, which, without exception, have harsh laws concerning war crimes. [sentence as received]

"The FRY particularly demands that Momcilo Krajisnik and all other people accused and arrested without reason be released from prison," the letter that Zivadin Jovanovic sent to UN Security Council said.

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