YU calls for dissolution of 'illegal, biased' Hague tribunal

June 6, 2000

(BBC) - Yugoslav Information Minister Goran Matic has called on the UN to dissolve the war crimes tribunal because it is "an illegal, illegitimate and biased judicial body". In a letter to the UN Security Council member countries, Matic also calls for the dismissal of the chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague over her refusal to acknowledge that NATO hit "civilian targets" during its campaign against Yugoslavia. The following is the text of report by Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug:

The Yugoslav Information Ministry has stated that Federal Information Minister Goran Matic sent a letter to the UN Security Council member countries in connection with the latest statement issued by Carla Del Ponte, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) prosecutor.

The letter reads as follows:

"Your Excellencies,

"I am writing to you in connection with the statement Mrs Carla Del Ponte issued at the latest meeting of the UN Security Council. I was astonished that Mrs Del Ponte said that the NATO did not hit civilian facilities during the 1999 aggression against Yugoslavia on purpose, adding that it did not commit war crimes.

"Even if it was Mrs Del Ponte who claimed this, it is too much. We know that the tribunal in The Hague and its prosecutor has supported the NATO aggressor and opposed Serbia and Yugoslavia from the very beginning. Still, we did not expect the tribunal to act in such an unprofessional way - that it would try to acquit the NATO and the U.S. leaders of the guilt for the war crimes they committed in Yugoslavia. With Mrs Del Ponte's statement before the UN Security Council, the ICTY finally took the aggressor's side and became an accomplice to the NATO crimes committed against Yugoslavia.

"It is up to you, Messrs Ambassadors of the UN Security Council members, to urgently respond in order to prevent that the United Nations is also made a NATO instrument.

"I am proposing that Mrs Carla Del Ponte is dismissed immediately as the ICTY prosecutor and that the tribunal should be dissolved as an illegal, illegitimate and biased judicial body.

"Mrs Del Ponte explained her decision with the cynical assessment that the above-mentioned crimes 'do not merit further investigation.'

"In my role as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia information minister, I would like to inform you only about the crimes that NATO, led by the United States, committed against the media in Serbia and Yugoslavia.

"The biggest war crime against the Yugoslav media during 'the air strikes' was committed by NATO in Belgrade on 23rd April 1999. At 0200, when a news program was being broadcast, it shelled the symbol of Yugoslav journalism - Serbian Radio-TV - which is situated in downtown Belgrade and is not a military object. On the contrary, foreign accredited television reporters were sending programs from that studio to the world freely, without censorship. During the strike, 16 civilians died - Yugoslav reporters and other television creators of the national Serbian Radio-TV.

"The architect of that notorious war crime, which happened on the eve of the third millennium, was, by his own admission, Richard Holbrooke, and the order was given directly and verified by U.S. President Bill Clinton, according to what international media published.

"Mr Holbrooke is among you; he is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations!

"In the 1999 air strikes, NATO destroyed not only the central information studio of Serbian Radio-TV in Belgrade, but also the building of Novi Sad Radio-Television in the capital of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, which is a multi-national province. From Novi Sad, programs were broadcast every day in the seven languages of the nations who live in the northern Serbian province. The commercial television stations Kosava and Pink were completely destroyed, too. They mostly broadcast entertainment programmes from the countries that committed the aggression against Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Sports Channel SOS was destroyed, too.

"In the air strikes, NATO destroyed the television tower on Mount Avala in Belgrade, an architectural work of international importance, as well as approximately 300 other telecommunication transmitters of television and radio stations, and 17 of altogether 19 large transmitting systems used exclusively for civilian purposes.

"NATO did this in order to prevent pictures of horrible crimes reaching audiences all over the world, so that the world would accept its fabricated lies as facts and justification for the deliberate, monstrous shooting of civilian objects.

"This is repeated now with the implementation of UN Resolution 1244 (from 1999) about Kosovo-Metohija. A kind of holocaust of Serbs and other non-Albanians is going on there. Albanian extremists - terrorists - are doing this despite the presence of the international forces, which the world and the tribunal in The Hague are silent about!

"Do not allow the shameful acts of the corrupt high-ranking ICTY officials and judges to ruin the reputation the UN Organization has in the search for just and peace-loving solutions to international crises and the problems in the Yugoslav and Serbian southern province of Kosovo and Metohija. Do not allow NATO, the tribunal in The Hague and Carla Del Ponte to turn victims into criminals and criminals into victims.

"Crimes, as you know, never go out of date, and the people who hush them up become accomplices.

"Dear Ambassadors,

"I am making use of this occasion to express my best wishes for your successful work and the prosperity of the international organization and the countries you represent in the United Nations.

"Federal Minister of Information Goran Matic."

Original article