|FINAL DOCUMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARLY CONFERENCE: OPERATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA [ICTY]: ITS SCOPE, RESULTS, AND EFFECTIVENESS|
|Monday, 25 May 2009 19:11|
On April 22 and 23, 2009, in Moscow, at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Slavic Studies, co-sponsored by the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation and Srebrenica Historical Project, a Netherlands non-government organization, an international scholarly conference was held on the topic: “Operation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [ICTY]: its scope, results, and effectiveness.” More than 30 scholars from Russia, Serbia, Republic of Srpska [Bosnia/Hercegovina], Bulgaria, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the US, took part in the proceedings. It was the first time that legal scholars, historians, forensic specialists, demographers, and researchers from other disciplines came together to analyze the legal principles upon which the work of the Tribunal is based and to assess its effectiveness and objectivity. An analysis of past and current ICTY cases was conducted based on the ethnic background of the accused, length of imposed sentences, legal principles relied upon, etc. The issue of Serbian and Moslem victims in and around Srebrenica was also discussed, bearing in mind that this was an episode of the war in Bosnia/Hercegovina which is critical to many ICTY indictments of Serb defendants.
New data were presented at the conference showing ICTY’s lack of objectivity and its one-sided approach. The participating scholars demonstrated the Tribunal’s bias in the following areas:
1. application of legal principles;
2. violations of the rules of procedure;
3. examination of witnesses and experts;
4. preparation and use of false witnesses,
5. tendentious selection and utilization of documents;
6. abuse of the concept of genocide;
7. ignoring terrorist activity in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija;
8. failure to prosecute Mujahedeen paramilitaries and their sponsors in Bosnia and Hercegovina; and
9. refusal to investigate and prosecute crimes committed during the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999.
Analysis of numerous cases showed that ICTY was utilized as one of the weapons in that aggression [the case of Slobodan Miloševic] and that it has acted in a manner that can only be characterized as unabashed interference in the internal affairs of Serbia [the case of Vojislav Šešelj]. In both instances, ICTY filed charges without having first secured any evidence of guilt against either Miloševic or Šešelj. At the conference, it was particularly stressed that accusations against the leader of the main pro-Russian party in Serbia, V. Šešelj, in many respects are not directed against him personally as much as they are aimed at Serbia’s pro-Russian orientation and, therefore, against Russia itself.
Facts were made public which showed that Serbs facing the Tribunal so far have been sentenced to a total of 904 years in prison, Croats to 171, Moslems to 39, and Kosovo Albanians to 19. New evidence was presented at the conference pertaining to the demographic analysis of the population of Srebrenica, about forensic investigations of Srebrenica’s Moslem victims which lead to conclusions significantly different from those promoted by the Tribunal, new documents shedding light on the withdrawal of the 28th Moslem Division from Srebrenica, as well as a number of other data.
Conference participants have summarized their work in the following conclusions:
1. ICTY was formed in contravention of legal principles.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was set up in violation of the current norms of international law. All arguments that have been advanced in support of the legality of the Tribunal’s formation were analyzed at the conference and it was shown that they are insufficient to serve as a legal basis for an international judicial institution.
2. Violations of principles of international law are notable in ICTY’s work.
The Tribunal’s effectiveness was shown to be insignificant because its work and sentencing practices are imbued with an obvious bias. Analysis of verdicts in cases such as Krstic, Galic, Šešelj, Miloševic, and others, shows that the Tribunal bears responsibility for crude violations of principles of international law, that it accepts false information as valid evidence, and that it often falsifies evidence. Such verdicts cannot be regarded as valid from either the legal or the factual points of view. The Tribunal long ago lost any semblance of authority as an objective vehicle of international law.
3. Harm inflicted to the system of international law.
The Tribunal has shown itself to be an instrument of certain political forces from the epoch of a unipolar world. The overall effect of the Tribunal’s activity has been to gravely undermine the system of international law, creating a dangerous precedent which threatens to distort further development of international law, turning it in the direction of rank arbitrariness.
Conference participants embraced the conclusion that ICTY should be shut down immediately and that all its activity must be subjected to serious review. In addition to crude violations of international law and ICTY’s own rules of procedure, the principle of Rebus Sic Stantibus is in itself sufficient to effect the Tribunal’s immediate abolition.
All decisions of the Tribunal ought to be thoroughly reviewed in accordance with generally accepted principles of legal procedure.
That includes substantive revision and review of all sentences, whether establishing guilt or acquitting the accused [e.g. combatants of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army], taking into account the discriminatory policy practiced by the Office of the Prosecutor of ICTY, its refusal to file charges against the principal violators of international humanitarian law, as well as manifest violations of the procedure and rights of accused and falsification of evidence, in particular during the trials of V. Šešelj, R. Krstic, S. Galic, M. Krajišnik, D. Miloševic, M. Martic, and others.
The responsibility of judges and other Tribunal personnel for violations of international law and the Tribunal’s own rules of procedure should be raised and actively pursued.
The issue of Srebrenica and the so-called genocide of Moslem civilians and military personnel must be subjected to comprehensive and exhaustive analysis in light of new facts and of all disposable evidence.
Particular attention must be given to the case of General R. Krstic, where ICTY, acting without any justification, classified events in Srebrenica in July of 1995 as „genocide.“ That conclusion was drawn in contravention of the evidence that was presented to the court. That verdict then served as the launching pad for a number of other equally unfounded verdicts against accused persons before ICTY. Later it was incorporated into the legaly problematic February 2007 ICJ ruling imputing to Serbia’s responsibility for allegedly failing to act in conformity with the Genocide Convention of 1948.
A serious analysis should be conducted of ICTY appellate procedure: the length of sentences pronounced against Serbian accused, as a rule, at this stage of proceedings is increased, while Moslem and Croat defendants either benefit from reduced sentences or are acquitted altogether.In depth scholarly analysis of all aspects of military confrontations taking place on the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1999 should be continued, in particular focusing on the attack on the JNA column in Dobrovoljacka Street, blasts in Vase Miskin Street and Markale Market, etc. The operation of ICTY in its entirety must be subjected to a serious scholarly critique.