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Belgrade Media Report 21 March 2019

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Thursday 21 March 2019

LOCAL PRESS

  • Dacic: Respect for international law response to global challenges (Tanjug)
  • Dacic: Argentina consistent in non-recognizing Kosovo and Metohija (RTV/Tanjug)
  • DS: All who committed crimes must be punished (Beta)
  • Seselj: Ruling to Karadzic scandalous, unprofessional (Beta)
  • Vukcevic: Karadzic’s sentence more just than previous one (FoNet)
  • Drecun: KFOR is silent – but what’s Albanian army doing in Kosovo? (TV Pink/Tanjug/B92)
  • Mondoloni: We don’t have a red line when it comes to Kosovo (N1/RTV/Tanjug)
  • Poland affirms support for Serbia’s EU path and not voting for so-called state of Kosovo’s UNSECO bid (Tanjug)
  • Veselinovic: Anti-government protests in Serbia to be intensified (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

  • B&H Presidency members divided over Karadzic’s sentence (Srna/N1)
  • Dodik comments on Karadzic verdict (Srna)
  • Cvijanovic comments on Karadzic verdict (Srna)
  • RS officials comment on Karadzic verdict (Srna)
  • Brammertz comments verdict pronounced to Radovan Karadzic (Radio Sarajevo)
  • International officials welcome verdict against Karadzic (N1)

Croatia

  • Croatia welcomes Karadzic war crimes verdict (Hina)

Montenegro

  • Agreement between the citizens and the opposition published on Facebook? Does it really exist? (CDM)
  • Organizers of the protest know nothing about the document (CDM)
  • DPS: Protests are politically-motivated (CDM)

Republic of North Macedonia

  • Zaev tells Mogherini: We work hard in order to get a start of the negotiations with the EU in June (Meta)
  • Zaev: We support positive solution for Kosovo (MIA)
  • Russian Federation recognizes our new constitutional name (Meta)
  • Decision time for President Ivanov – will he pardon the political prisoners? (Republika)

Albania

  • Ready to sacrifice my post for a political solution – Meta declares (ADN)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

  • Delays in Kosovo Talks Could Destabilize Balkans, Serbia’s President Says (Reuters)
  • Summary of Karadzic verdict (ICTY)
  • Volker: Possible that Serbia and Kosovo reach agreement this year (Voice of America)
  • Chizhov: Moscow does not meddle in others’ affairs (ekathimerini.com)

LOCAL PRESS

Dacic: Respect for international law response to global challenges (Tanjug)

Addressing the United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that Serbia will continue to strongly support the strengthening of multilateralism, the UN system and international solidarity, while respecting the sovereign equality of all member states. “The Republic of Serbia has an interest to develop all-round cooperation with the countries participating in the South-South cooperation process. As a country currently in the process of European integration, but also as one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, we are particularly heartened by the development of triangular cooperation and the joint work being done by partners from both developed and developing countries.  The Republic of Serbia will continue to strongly advocate for strengthening multilateralism, the UN system and international solidarity while respecting, at the same time, sovereign equality of all Member States of the United Nations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank once again many countries which have not recognized the unilateral declaration of independence of so called “Kosovo”, in support of the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia. By doing so, they have demonstrated their commitment to the principles of international law, the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolution 1244. The Republic of Serbia is consistent in its position that contentious issues must be resolved only by full compliance with these principles and documents and through dialogue aimed at reaching compromise and durable solutions. I am deeply convinced that only consistent and principled positions are a guarantee that the rights of small and less developed countries will be observed in similar circumstances in the future.It is of particular importance that the attention of this Conference is focused on the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a strategic document, the implementation of which should make the world more just and more humane for all. This will once again reaffirm the indispensable role of the UN system, as a global forum for dealing with matters and challenges of universal significance, such as Sustainable Development Goals to which both the developed and developing countries aspire equally.”

Dacic: Argentina consistent in non-recognizing Kosovo and Metohija (RTV/Tanjug)

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met with Argentinian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religion Gustavo Zlauvinen, who stressed that Argentina will not change its position on the non-recognition of Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence. Dacic thanked for the Argentinian support to Serbia in international organizations and highlighted the importance of respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, as well as of Argentina, the Foreign Ministry announced. On this occasion, the focus was placed on bilateral and multilateral cooperation and it was concluded that political relations are on the constant rise. Dacic said that additional political efforts should be made and the officials exchanged information on the export capacities of the two countries, as well as on concrete projects and the upcoming visit of the Argentinean officials to Serbia.

DS: All who committed crimes must be punished (Beta)

MP from the Democratic Party (DS) Aleksandra Jerkov stated, commenting on the life sentence pronounced on Radovan Karadzic, that all who committed crimes must be punished.Perpetrators must be called out by name, to relieve the nation of collective guilt, Jerkov told reporters in the Serbian parliament. She advocated a debate about what had been done in the name of the Serbian people, recollecting that women and civilians had been killed. Jerkov said she feared that there would be no such debate after the sentence on Karadzic. She said she did not expect a proper reaction from the state, since those who are leading it supported everything that was going on during the 1990s.

Seselj: Ruling to Karadzic scandalous, unprofessional (Beta)

Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj described the sentence of life imprisonment pronounced to Radovan Karadzic as scandalous and unprofessional. “The verdict is scandalous, belongs in the worst practices of the Hague-based tribunal and reflects its continuity,” Seselj stressed. He further said that the ruling is grounded on the false testimonies of witnesses and imposed facts, and that it was obviously handed down by incompetent judges with no morals whatsoever.

Vukcevic: Karadzic’s sentence more just than previous one (FoNet)

Former war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic told FoNet that the life sentence delivered to Radovan Karadzic is more just than the initial sentence of 40 years. He said the life sentence gives the families of the victims satisfaction because it is just. “As a professional I do not expect the sentence to be bigger or smaller, but just,” he said.  Vukcevic recalled that perpetrators of lesser crimes were given life sentences, adding that Karadzic role as the first Republika Srpska president carried greater responsibility. Vukcevic said the court’s job is not to contribute to reconciliation in the region. According to him, the court can’t effect reconciliation which he said is up to the executive authorities but can only rule if someone is guilty or not.

Drecun: KFOR is silent – but what’s Albanian army doing in Kosovo? (TV Pink/Tanjug/B92)

“A joint exercise by the Albanian army and the so-called KSF in Kosovo and Metohija is intended to intimidate the Serb people, and these are preparations for a possible provoking of violence in the north of Kosovo and Metohija,” the Chairperson of the Serbian parliamentary Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun told TV Pink. Drecun assessed that this was an unacceptable demonstration of the Greater Albania policy, that Albania had no basis to send members of its army to Kosovo and Metohija, unless they were occupiers, and that what Albania is doing is so dangerous that it almost borders on an unofficial declaration of war on Serbia. “They have occupied, with the entry of their forces, a part of our territory. Neither the UN nor KFOR are reacting,” Drecun says. He emphasized that, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the only military presence in Kosovo can be that of KFOR. “How could KFOR permit the presence of a non-KFOR military force? Why did they not prevent them? Who made the political decision to allow such a thing?,” Drecun asked. He added that the message was being sent to Belgrade that the Albanian army could help Pristina’s special units complete the ethnic cleansing of Serbs, and expel all of them from Kosovo. “A very dangerous message is being sent to Serbia, one that can bring the region into new war sufferings, the message is being sent to us that in case we try to defend the Serb people, if violence were to occur in the North, Albania would send its army to confront us, and that we can expect the Albanian army on Mt. Kopaonik, where the administrative line runs,” Drecun said. He pointed out that the Albanian regime is actually behind the destabilization of Kosovo and Metohija, as it had been behind that of Macedonia in the past. Drecun also said he was worried about the danger of some processes connecting, such as the announced protests by a part of the opposition in Serbia, which plans a big gathering on April 13, and the joint preparation of the Albanian army and the so-called Kosovo Security Force (KSF) for a possible storming of the north of Kosovo. “What if some actions against the Serb people in the north of Kosovo and Metohija coincide with the launch of violent protests in Belgrade or in other cities of Serbia? What are the secret activities of some of the leaders of the Alliance for Serbia (SzS) Djilas and Jeremic in Skopje? What was discussed with Zoran Zaev in Skopje?,” Drecun asked. He also noted that Zaev has excellent relations with Ramush Haradinaj and with the Albanians, and asked whether Djilas was some kind of mediator in the talks, or in the making of some plans. “Why has Sulejman Ugljanin lately joined the whole story of the ‘One in Five Million’ protests – who has for years had secret cooperation with the Albanians? What if some actions against Serbs in the north of Kosovo are launched at the same time as unlawful violent activities in Novi Pazar, in the south of central Serbia, and in Belgrade?,” Drecun asked. He also spoke about a proper intelligence war that broke out in Macedonia the other day over a dispatch the US Embassy in Skopje had sent to the US State Department, that was then published by WikiLeaks. Drecun read out the contents of the dispatch concerning a terrorist attack that took place in Kumanovo, Macedonia in 2015, and recalled that he said at the time this terrorist group had been organized by Haradinaj. The dispatch, he continued, states that the movement of Zoran Zaev at the time wanted to overthrow the Macedonian government, and wondered what Zaev, Djilas and Jeremic could be consulting about. “What is Dragan Djilas doing in Kosovo and Metohija? Is he just visiting the places where the Serbs and the Serb holy places live, or is he in communication with Haradinaj? What is Ugljanin talking about with Haradinaj and Thaci?,” Drecun asked. He also commented on Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s statement that violent demonstrations in Serbia can destabilize the region to say it was the ethnic cleansing which Croatia continues to perpetrate that is destabilizing both Serbia and the region. “Croatia’s support to Albanian terrorists, the so-called KSF, destabilizes the entire region. Croatia is the one trying to destabilize Serbia without caring for the region’s stability, but it will not succeed,” Drecun said.

Mondoloni: We don’t have a red line when it comes to Kosovo (N1/RTV/Tanjug)

The French Ambassador to Serbia Frederic Mondoloni told N1 that when it comes to resolving the Kosovo problem, France doesn’t have a red line, which doesn’t mean that we will accept every solution. He says it is up to the both sides to find a mutually acceptable solution, to examine all possibilities for the conflict to be resolve with compromise. “We are not for or against (change of borders). If the solution is acceptable to both sides and contributes to the region’s stability, it is acceptable for us,” said Mondoloni. Calling the Kosovo authorities to remove the barriers for resumption of the dialogue, Mondoloni says that France was also critical towards the formation of the so-called Kosovo army. Presenting the stand on the platform for resuming the dialogue adopted by the Kosovo Assembly, Mondoloni says he understands the Serbian reaction to the platform – that the stands voiced in it are maximalist. He says that his country’s President Emmanuel Macron should visit Serbia in July and that Paris wanted a strong Europe and a strong Serbia in the European Union. The ambassador said France supported Serbia European integration, adding both Brussels and Belgrade should carry out reforms at the same time. He said the EU integration process was long because many concrete things had to be adjusted like the rule of law, the Chapters 23 and 24 (judiciary and fundamental rights and justice, freedom, and security). Speaking about the anti-government protests in Serbia, Mondoloni said that as a foreign ambassador he shouldn’t comment on the internal affairs in the host country. But he added the right to demonstrate should exist as long as the protests were peaceful. Media freedom, he said, is essential and all media should be able to work peacefully, without pressure.

Poland affirms support for Serbia’s EU path and not voting for so-called state of Kosovo’s UNSECO bid (Tanjug)

The members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group (PFG) with Poland met at the Serbian parliament with a delegation of the Group for Cooperation with the Western Balkans of the Parliamentary of the Republic of Poland. PFG Head Dragana Kostic said she was very pleased that the parliament has the opportunity to welcome the Polish delegation on the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. She spoke about the traditionally good relations between Serbia and Poland stressing that the MPs are open to improving parliamentary cooperation, as evidenced by the National Assembly Speaker’s visit to Poland last year. Kostic spoke about the problems Serbia is faced with on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, from the 100% customs tax on goods from Serbia, to the fact that Pristina has not fulfilled one of its obligations under the Brussels agreement. She thanked Poland for its assistance on Serbia’s path to full EU membership and abstinence on the so-called state of Kosovo’s 2015 UNSECO bid. Tomasz Glogowski, member of the Polish delegation, said he could not understand the imposition of a 100% customs tax on goods from Serbia by Pristina which also has ambitions to join the EU, because this act violates all the trade principles the organization is built on. Speaking of the coming election for European Parliament, he said that Poland will have many deputies in it which will give definite support for Serbia’s path to the EU.PFG member and Culture and Information Committee Chairman Mirko Krlic explained the importance of not having the so-called state of Kosovo join UNSECO. He shared the worrying data on the number of demolished churches, monasteries and cemeteries stressing that judging from Pristina’s treatment of the Serbian cultural heritage so far it is clear how it would treat it if it were to join UNESCO and gain direct authority over its protection. Poland was the first Slavic country to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo and the members of the PFG with Poland hoped that an intensification of interparliamentary cooperation could prompt Poland to re-evaluate its position, especially since after WWII it too had to face losing part of its territory.

Veselinovic: Anti-government protests in Serbia to be intensified (Beta)

Janko Veselinovic, one of the Alliance for Serbia (SzS) grouping has said the #1 in 5 million protests last week have shown the regime doesn’t have an answer to the unity of the opposition and people, Beta reported. An SzS statement quoted Veselinovic as saying the Alliance’s members agreed to intensify demonstrations across Serbia. He added their demand for fair elections had been delivered to the regime a long time ago, but that it didn’t respond.“Wishing only to stay in power, this regime is not using just lies and media manipulations any more, but Aleksandar Vucic decided to defend his position by force. The police and Gendarmerie cordons brought in by Nebojsa Stefanovic, and his boss proved that,” Veselinovic said. He added the SzS would agree on further steps with the aim to change the system which ignores citizens and makes institutions senseless.

REGIONAL PRESS

B&H Presidency members divided over Karadzic’s sentence (Srna/N1)

As with many other issues, the three members of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency representing B&H main three ethnic groups, completely disagree over Wednesday’s judgement against wartime B&H Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) increased on Wednesday the first instance sentence for the former Bosnian Serb leader from 40 years to life in prison for genocide and other war crimes he had committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The life sentence was “arrogant and cynical,” the Chairman of B&H’s tripartite Presidency, Bosnian Serb Milorad Dodik, said. According to him, the mission of The Hague Tribunal was to ensure reconciliation but after this verdict, “this has come to be even more uncertain and nearly impossible.” He repeated that Republika Srpska (RS) does not trust The Hague Tribunal. When the tribunal was set up, people thought it could be trusted, having in mind the authority of those who established it” Dodik told reporters in Banja Luka. “With time, that was lost, as this Tribunal has a highly selective approach,” he added. Bosniak Presidency member Sefik Dzaferovic, welcomed the verdict. “The deserved punishment has caught up with war criminal Radovan Karadzic” he said, calling Karadzic one of the “architects and leaders of an endeavor that resulted in genocide and crimes against humanity.” “We waited for justice for two and a half decades, and we got it,” he said, but added that this justice was only “partial.” The Court did not accept evidence that genocide was committed in seven other towns apart from Srebrenica, Dzaferovic said. He said that the entire political leadership of the wartime RS was “sentenced for being part of a joint criminal enterprise, genocide and crimes against humanity.” He said this was not a verdict issued against all Serbs but against a project which Karadzic led. This is a strong message to all those who are planning to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their projects will never succeed,” Dzaferovic concluded, adding that “trust cannot be built upon glorifying war criminals.”

 The Croat member of the Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, said that the verdict represents “a minimum of justice for all victims, Bosniaks and Croats, who were systematically exterminated as part of a genocidal project of creating RS.” “Today, above all, we have to be in our thoughts with the survivors and families of the genocide victims. Unfortunately, this ruling will not make up for all the pain and trauma they lived through, but it represents partial satisfaction that the person who masterminded the evil that was brought upon them is being held responsible for it,” he said.

Dodik comments on Karadzic verdict (Srna)

B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik stated Wednesday the judgment rendered to the first president of Republika Srpska (RS) Radovan Karadzic is quite arrogant and cynical and an act of equalizing some earlier judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Dodik pointed out the ICTY mission was to ensure reconciliation but that now any such thing was even uncertain and almost impossible. He said RS had long lost its trust in The Hague Tribunal and that life sentence rendered for its first president was a confirmation of that.

“Many here believed when the ICTY was formed that some kind of trust would be ensured by the authority of those who formed it. That belief disappeared with time because this tribunal largely engaged in selective justice,” Dodik told the press in Banja Luka. He said that most people in RS did not expect anything different from the trial chamber judgment, possibly only worse. “The injustice hurts. It is impossible that Naser Oric (the war-time commander of the Muslim forces in Srebrenica) who committed murders and crimes speaks of Karadzic and his alleged crime. Neither the B&H judiciary nor the ICTY reacted to this, and we are in a situation where Karadzic is tried even though no one proved that he either ordered murders or took part in or was present during the commission of murders” Dodik said. He said that Karadzic was tried, while no Croatian or Bosniak official was brought to justice for the killings of Serbs in Croatia and B&H. “The story of alleged victims and criminals was created, and the role of criminals was planned for the Serbs. No judgment was issued for crimes against Serbs, and there were many, including Srebrenica,” Dodik said. According to him, it is logical that the trust in the ICTY was lost. “We are facing the fact that the judgment was rendered. It does not delve into RS and we reject every such story,” Dodik said. He said that the statement by B&H Presidency member Zeljko Komsic about the judgment rendered to Karadzic is inadmissible since he is trying to put a label on RS which it does not deserve. “His statement will make our political talks more difficult. It cannot be that RS is genocidal and that B&H is not genocidal. He chose this sort of label, which is unnecessary, and he even exceeded the bounds of the judgment and tried to accuse all Serbs. This is a clear message to me and I will deal with this the way I think is proper,” Dodik said. He said that RS is a legitimate part of the political system in B&H and that it is unbearable to work with people who think badly of Serbs and RS. “RS continues to live and I call on all people to be calm and to fight for our rights. It is the task of all of us to strengthen RS and to show things were not the way the court ruled” Dodik said. He said that injustice was inflicted as all crimes were not treated the same way. “It is an injustice to try only Serbian politicians. The complete political leadership of RS and Serbia was at the ICTY, while others were not. After Alija Izetbegovic died, we found out that proceedings against him were conducted at the ICTY, but the question is what they were waiting for,” Dodik said. He said that the little trust that existed in B&H was lost after the statements by Komsic and the SDA.

“This tells us to be absolutely cautious. No one says that RS is genocidal, only Komsic dares to say it. This is an insult to RS, and I will clear it up with him,” Dodik said. He said that the ICTY led B&H into an impossible situation and instead of securing trust, it did the opposite.

Cvijanovic comments on Karadzic verdict (Srna)

Republika Srpska (RS) President Zeljka Cvijanovic says there is clearly a political pattern and attempts to fill the political space with judicial rulings or decisions to pack it all up into a story that fits into a political rhetoric of a black-and-white context in which one side is guilty and an aggressor and the other is a victim. “An exception is a judgment related to Croatia where it was found an aggressor which acted on foreign territory. Perhaps the goal of reactions coming from Croatia is to forget such a past event and the qualification they were given,” Cvijanovic asserted when asked to comment on The Hague judgment handed down to the first president of RS, Radovan Karadzic, on Wednesday.  She recalled that a few days ago she had not had any specific expectations. “Taught by what happened in the past and based on our experience, following the whole chain of events regarding The Hague Tribunal’s administration of justice, we were able to draw a conclusion that something like the ruling is seen today would happen,” said Cvijanovic. According to her, the outcome of the Karadzic trial could have been guessed, given that it could be observed from what the court was doing for years that there was a selective approach to justice and that there had been a political concept long before the actual administration of justice began and before people found themselves there to answer for certain actions or on the basis of suspicion that existed. “There was a typical approach, and when it comes to Serbs, there have been severe sentences, while when it comes to other ethnicities, there have been acquittals. Today we have a situation where there is evidence proving that some people poked other people’s eyes out, killed children or slaughtered people, there is no sentence and they are free. To make things worse, they were acquitted in The Hague and then by the local courts in B&H,” said Cvijanovic. She says that administration of justice did not achieve what it was supposed to and that we are not closer to one another within B&H. “Such a selective approach definitely brought us further apart, there are many questions and ordinary people cannot grasp this policy. These judgments may serve as a confirmation or an excuse for some other action that occurred here. We know we were bombed, that they assaulted us in all kinds of ways, that procedures were not observed and that no approvals were obtained from the UN Security Council. There were many events during the war, political pressures after the war and it seems this should be a justification for everything that meant the way of handling an experiment, and B&H was set up as an experiment indeed,” Cvijanovic pointed out. According to her, there are no political implications for RS nor can there be any. “If there is certain guilt it is assigned individually and defined for individuals; it cannot, at any rate, refer to the whole RS and what the past, present or especially the future of RS is. There is a bitter taste in our mouth and distrust about the administration of justice which existed before as well,” said Cvijanovic. She recalled that various things had happened in courts for years, such as procedural mistakes, lack of evidence, pressure on certain witnesses who then changed their statements and said they were told to do so by the people in courtrooms and defended the accused. “All those things produced general mistrust and confirmed our theory about a selective approach to justice. There is no justice and no fairness. If there were, all perpetrators would have been treated the same, no matter their ethnic background. I would never wish to justify any kind of crime, I am only saying that a crime has a name and that punishment has to be ordered to everyone, no matter which people they come from,” said Cvijanovic. According to her, that was not the case here and that Serb politicians and military personnel were tried according to a usual pattern, while others were acquitted.

RS officials comment on Karadzic verdict (Srna)

History will judge the ICTY and all who took part in its work will be ashamed of being a part of a political forgery, SNSD spokesman Radovan Kovacevic told Srna. Commenting on the life imprisonment rendered to Radovan Karadzic, Kovacevic said that Serbs are the greatest victims of the dissolution of Yugoslavia, from Slovenia to Kosovo, and that they have never received legal satisfaction for this. “I am certain that the Serbian people will be saying in the future that someone who is absolutely biased is impartial as the ICTY. History will judge this court and everyone who took part in its work will be ashamed of being a part of this political forgery” Kovacevic said. He says that the good thing is that this is definitely the end of the ICTY and that peoples in B&H will get an opportunity to arrive at some sort of reconciliation. “Around 100,000 people were killed in the misfortunate civil war in B&H, of whom more than 30,000 are Serbs. There are less than 2% of judgments for crimes against Serbs, and this speaks volumes about the role of the ICTY. Its role was to be everything else except being just,” Kovacevic concluded.

 The ICTY, by the judgment handed down to Karadzic, only confirmed its true nature and fully subjected the law to the politics, proving that all these years it has been biased in the pursuit of the political goal, said Nedeljko Cubrilovic, the speaker of the RS parliament. He stressed that the life sentence to Karadzic only confirmed the belief of the RS people that the Tribunal is biased, selective and that it was established with the aim of finding the Serbs and their leaders guilty for the civil war in B&H, announced the RS parliament. Cubrilovic states that The Hague Tribunal has invented categories of command responsibility and joint criminal enterprise, which are exclusively reserved for Serb officers and political representatives, some of them were even tried for verbal offense, regardless of the fact that Serb political leaders did not commit war crimes for which they were convicted. According to him, it is clear that The Hague Tribunal did not contribute to reconciliation in B&H, which is why it was allegedly established. “Moreover, it deepened the division between the peoples in this region, protecting only one side, acquitting the perpetrators of documented crimes committed against Serb civilians, such as the crimes committed in Kravica, Sase and Zalazje by Muslim forces,” said Cubrilovic. Although, Cubrilovic recalls, The Hague Tribunal Statute reads that the purpose of its establishment is “principled punishment of all war crimes”, which should contribute to the reconciliation in the region, it is clear that the Tribunal failed to fulfill its mission and showed political bias and selective attitude. “The Hague Tribunal ended its work in 2017 without indictments filed against war-time political leaders of the Bosniak people and military commanders of the so-called B&H Army. At the same time, The Hague Tribunal convicted 161 people, of whom the most convicted ones are Serbs – 110, nearly all political, military and police officials of the Serb people,” said Cubrilovic. He stressed that the judgment will not have any consequences for the Dayton Peace Agreement, the Constitution and the status of RS within B&H. Cubrilovic recalled that in 1995, the Dayton Peace Agreement, as an international legal act, confirmed the continuity of the existence of RS, its bodies and institutions, since its establishment in 1992, confirming the international and legal identity of RS. United Srpska Party Leader Nenad Stevandic said that The Hague Tribunal has remained on the same ground of geopolitical disputes and the instrument of power, not an instrument for establishing justice, accountability or reconciliation among nations. “It is sad that the ICTY’s outcome is that the peoples will be subjected to disputes more than before the war, as it quite transparently made this conflict dangerous for the future by discriminating one nation,” Stevandic told Srna. Stevandic added that this Court was formed as an element of power in geopolitical disputes in order for the processes in the Balkans to take place in the interest of the West.  The appeal judgment handed down to Karadzic is a sad ending of the court which will be remembered in international practice as one that did not administer justice according to law, says DNS leader Marko Pavic. “The way it began its operations under different political pressures, the international tribunal in The Hague turned into a political court and ended its work today as a political court which did not adjudicate according to law, justice or laws, but on political, state and I don’t know whose orders from the outside,” Pavic told Srna. He added that the tribunal and its judgments should have always led to reconciliation among people. “This judgment and judgments rendered by the court, especially those to Serbs, only moved the peoples in B&H away from each other further and this is yet another blow to inter-ethnic relations in B&H,” said Pavic. RS Minister of Labor, War Veterans and Disabled Persons Protection Dusko Milunovic urged the world powers today to stop undeserved manhunt against Serbs, as they are well aware that the Serbs have been for centuries forced to defend their homes, freedom and honor from numerous invaders. Karadzic, neither advocated nor supported nor committed any crime. He is a historical figure whom the International Residual Mechanism by its today’s judgment sent to legend, said the first Speaker of the RS National Assembly, Momcilo Krajisnik. Srebrenica Municipality Mayor Mladen Grujicic says that the life imprisonment sentence handed down to Karadzic is a continuation of demonization of the Serb people and the humiliation of Serb victims. SDS Leader Vukota Govedarica believes that the draconic tribunal’s judgment handed down to Karadzic strives to impose a legal stamp on Serb people’s responsibility for the past civil war in B&H. PDP Leader Branislav Borenovic told that the judgment will not be acceptable for most of the Serb people.

Brammertz comments verdict pronounced to Radovan Karadzic (Radio Sarajevo)

The Office of the Prosecutor is satisfied with the Appeals Chamber’s Judgment in the case Prosecutor vs. Radovan Karadzic, which in the most important respects confirmed Karadzic’s convictions at trial on ten counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Appeals Chamber further granted the Prosecution’s appeal and sentenced Karadzic to life imprisonment. Following the pronouncement of the judgment, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said: As confirmed by the Appeals Chamber, Radovan Karadzic is guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He abused his political and military authority, together with other senior leaders, to unleash unimaginable campaigns of crimes, commit unspeakable atrocities and destroy a country. Karadzic led massive ethnic cleansing campaigns, displacing millions, killing tens of thousands and subjecting so many ordinary, innocent people to rape, torture, sexual slavery and other maltreatment. He oversaw the more than three years long Siege of Sarajevo, spreading terror in the city to achieve his political goals. He made UN peacekeepers hostages and human shields. And in Srebrenica in July 1995, he joined with Ratko Mladic and others to expel 30,000 women, girls and elderly from their homes, and to kill thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys. This UN tribunal has convicted him for his crimes and sentenced him to life imprisonment, sending an important message that justice can prevail over evil. Today, the victims of his crimes finally saw him answer for what he did. Opponents of the Tribunal will claim that this judgment is a verdict against the Serbian people. I reject that in the strongest terms. Karadzic’s guilt is his, not his community’s. thers will say that Karadzic is a hero and was defending his people. This trial has proven the opposite. Karadzic will be remembered by history as a war criminal responsible for horrific human suffering. Responsible officials should, therefore, promote acceptance of the facts established in this trial as the foundation for reconciliation. The denial of crimes and glorification of war criminals should not be tolerated. There must be respect for and recognition of all victims, for what they suffered, and their courage in the fight for accountability. There can be no question that victims from all communities are still waiting for the justice they deserve. My Office is committed to supporting national courts, who now have the responsibility to continue the justice process. We express our gratitude to the international community for supporting our work. We urge the United Nations and its Member States to continue supporting national prosecutors in the former Yugoslavia fighting for more justice for more victims.

International officials welcome verdict against Karadzic (N1)

International officials welcomed the final verdict against former B&H Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on Wednesday, calling upon local leaders and media to respect it and to cooperate with the international court which handed it down. The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) changed on Wednesday the first instance sentence of the former B&H Serb leader from 40 years in prison to life for genocide and other war crimes he had committed during the 1992-95 war in B&H. According to the High Representative, Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko the verdict “represents an important moment and hopefully offers a sense of closure for all the victims and survivors of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in B&H.” “No court decision can bring back the loved ones of the survivors, but it can give some measure of redress. Concurrently, by affirming individual responsibility rather than collective guilt, the Court’s decision should bring relief to all decent people. There are no bad nations, only bad individuals,” the High Representative stated. Inzko called on all authorities and political leaders in B&H to “refrain from resorting to political posturing or trying to discredit the important work done by these international tribunals,” adding that “the decisions of the Tribunal must be respected. It is time for the politicians and citizens of B&H to respect the past, but also to turn a new page, look towards the future, reconcile and rebuild trust among peoples in B&H. This is a prerequisite for the country and its people to move forward,” concluded the High Representative. The US Embassy in B&H welcomed the verdict, saying it represents an “important step toward holding to account those individuals responsible for the tremendous suffering of the people of B&H, while providing some sense of justice and closure to victims and their families.” “We urge all parties to respect the court’s verdict, and rededicate themselves to the continued reconciliation and peaceful coexistence essential to the future of a stable, secure B&H that safeguards the rights of all its citizens,” a press statement by the Embassy said.

 The Head of the OSCE Mission in Bosnia, Bruce Berton, also hailed the verdict as “another crucial step toward holding accountable those individuals most responsible for genocide and other atrocities committed in B&H.” “First and foremost, our thoughts are with the families of the victims, for whom the pursuit of justice has been long and painful,” an OSCE statement quoted Berton, who called the process “complex and painful” but “critically important.”

 “Holding individuals accountable for their criminal actions, even these many years after the war, is essential to building lasting peace in B&H, upholding the rule of law and strengthening international jurisprudence,” Berton said. “We strongly urge all citizens in the country and beyond – in particular, political and party leaders, media, local government officials, religious leaders and community activists—to respect today’s verdict and avoid inflammatory, divisive rhetoric.” The EU Delegation in B&H said the verdict “closes a case relating to some of the most tragic events in Europe’s recent history, involving war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Our deep sympathies are with those who lost their loved ones and those who survived” an EU press statement said. The EU said it fully respects the decisions by the international tribunals which handed down the sentence and emphasized the need for cooperating with them.

“The EU expects all leaders in the region to support the decisions of the international tribunals and to refrain from any statements or actions casting doubt on the independence or the impartiality of the adjudication process,” the statement said. “Denial or revisionism contradict the most fundamental European values,” it said. “Reconciliation requires an honest and factual assessment of the past, coming from within societies and bringing together all parties to the conflict,” it concluded, adding that “education and awareness are key.”

Croatia welcomes Karadzic war crimes verdict (Hina)

The final verdict against Radovan Karadzic cannot bring back to life the tens of thousands of victims or relieve the pain of their families but it must serve as a lasting warning about the fatal effects of the Great Serbia policy, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Wednesday. “Today’s final verdict is a judgment against one of the main ideologists and executors of the Great Serbia policy, which did not refrain from genocide and other gravest types of international crime against Croats and Bosniaks, with the aim of creating a ‘Great Serbia’,” the President said in a press release. “The verdict cannot bring back to life the tens of thousands of victims nor relieve the pain of their families and survivors, however, it must serve as a lasting warning about the fatality of that policy,” Grabar-Kitarovic said.

Agreement between the citizens and the opposition published on Facebook? Does it really exist? (CDM)

Assistant Professor Mirjana Kuljak, from the Faculty of Economics in Podgorica, published on her Facebook profile that the organizers of “Odupri se 97.000” protest had prepared requests and Agreement between the citizens and leaders of opposing political subjects. This post provoked polemics and numerous comments. CDM asked the organizers about the matter, but they didn’t answer. “Shame on you, organizers! Organizers needed citizens for showing off their mass and to serve them as a cover. Who gave them the right to act on behalf of citizens? What’s the point of further protests?” wrote Kuljak. Demir Hodzic, one of the organizers, said that “the agreement isn’t the agreement of the team of the protest”. “For some reason, you were given false information. I believe we’ll find out who did it,” wrote Hodzic. Now, the question is – is this platform authentic and if it’s not, is this the act of some party which would like to take over the protests. The Agreement contains requests made by the citizens due to 30 years of injustice. Among others, some of the requests are: resignation of the President Milo Djukanovic and Prime Minister Dusko Markovic (including other persons performing relevant functions in the government). They also want a parliamentary majority to accept the agreement on the formation of the government of Montenegro that would consist of the representatives of leading majority and opposition, according to the principle of 50% of delegated functions. Until all their requests are met, the opposition won’t take part in any elections.

Organizers of the protest know nothing about the document (CDM)

One of the organizers of protest in Montenegro, known as “97000 Odupri se”, Dzemal Perovic, hasn’t confirmed that they were the authors of the document that has become popular on social networks. Representatives of the organization board of the protest, said they are very surprised. To make things even more complicated, the escaped tycoon, Dusko Knezevic, intervened and said he wouldn’t allow anyone to settle disputes with the opposition over his back. Perovic said he “has no idea”, after he hung up the first time a journalist asked him a question. Unlike him, Organization board of the protest answered the question. “Members of the Organization board of this protest are not familiar with the origin of this document and we were very surprised with its content. Authentic information in relation to the activities of “97000 Odupri se” movement are only the information that are published via our e-mail and on our official Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter page,” said the members of the Organization board. The document sparked off tensions. Nobody really knows where all this leads to. Person from the Interpol’s Red Notice, Dusko Knezevic, said that he hadn’t expected any ultimatums to be given to the opposition. As he said, the task of those who present themselves as organizers of this protest is to take the people to the 10-million worth villa under Gorica, owned by Milo Djukanovic and to maintain that energy that I provoked, instead of making divisions among those who gathered to bring the regime down.

DPS: Protests are politically-motivated (CDM)

Presidency of Democratic Party of Socialists said that a conversation with formal organizers of the protest “is possible, but without any ultimatums or any possibilities of reaching a compromise regarding fundamental values of modern Montenegrin state and society and functioning of its institutions”. They pointed out openness for any sort of dialogue with all political parties, within the institutions of the system. The Presidency has concluded that protests are a legitimate way of expressing specific attitudes, while adding that these protests are politically-motivated. They determined the Proposal Decision on calling elections in municipal organizations. “In addition, the Presidency has determined the Instruction on the manner of organizing party elections, including the criteria for the election of authorities of the parties. In accordance with the adopted dynamics, elections in local committees of DPS will be held from April to July of the current year, and afterward, preparations for the Congress will start,” said the representatives of DPS.

Zaev tells Mogherini: We work hard in order to get a start of the negotiations with the EU in June (Meta)

Prime Minister of Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev began his official visit to Brussels by meeting with the Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Policy and Security, Federica Mogherini, informs the government. “At the meeting, Republic of North Macedonia’s significant progress achieved in the process of meeting its reformatory agenda was greeted. The government received encouragement from the Vice-president of the European Commission Mogherini to implement the remaining measures for the completion of the reforms before June this year that were set out with the conclusions of the European Council since June 2018. During today’s meeting in Brussels, the participants at the meeting agreed that the successful implementation of fair, democratic and free presidential elections is of a key priority for the government. At the meeting, it was also stressed that everyone expects a constructive approach and participation of the opposition at the elections, including the reformatory processes. Also, it was concluded that the Republic of North Macedonia has big reasons for hoping of positive signals from all European institutions in the forthcoming period,” said the government’s press release.

Zaev: We support positive solution for Kosovo (MIA)

Prime Minister of Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev thinks that there was no Macedonian scenario in Serbia, but he condemns every act of violation towards the institution of the system. “As man who was directly attacked by aggressors in the institutions, I can clearly condemn every act of violation towards the institution of the system,” said Zaev. This is how he sees Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s comments on demonstrators and opposition entering the headquarters of Radio-Television of Serbia. Prime Minister of Republic of North Macedonia pointed out that Serbia is “big friend”. “Our people are very close, we only want good for Serbia so it can make a progress. In this moment we support positive solution for Kosovo problem, solution which would be in their interest and which would guarantee a prosperity in the region, European integration and peace,” underlined Zaev. He added that he understands negotiations are difficult because he was in that position few months ago. They are trying to understand and support the process. “I hope they will return to dialogue. I hope the internal dialogue will be in the neighbors state as well,” said Prime Minister.

Russian Federation recognizes our new constitutional name (Meta)

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation Sergey Bazdnikin handed over the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev a copy of the note from the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to which upon the decision of the President of the Russian Federation, this country is recognizing the new name of our country – Republic of North Macedonia, informs the government. “At the meeting in the cabinet of Prime Minister Zaev, both speakers confirmed their strive for maintaining traditionally friendly relations through active dialogue. Special attention at the meeting was given to boosting the possibilities of increasing economic cooperation, where it should be mentioned as a significant detail that the export of fresh fruits and vegetables in January this year was increased by 90%, compared to the same month in 2018. The intensifying of the economic cooperation is expected to be a central subject at the next session of the Mixed Government Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation between these two countries that is planned to be organized in Skopje,” said the press release.

Decision time for President Ivanov – will he pardon the political prisoners? (Republika)

At the end of his term, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov is faced with the decision whether he will pardon former Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov and 15 other police officials and opposition activists, who were sentenced to draconian 211 years in prison over the April 2017 incident in the parliament. This is now the largest of the series of politically motivated cases which the Zoran Zaev government initiated against its political opponents. The case was used to blackmail a group of VMRO-DPMNE MPs, three of whom broke and voted with Zaev, in favor of renaming Macedonia into North Macedonia. They received selective amnesties, while common citizens and protesters who joined their call and rallied to the parliament, were sentenced to between 7 and 15 years in prison on “terrorism” charges. Those sentenced include Jane Cento, heir to the family name of Macedonia’s first President Metodija Andonov Cento – himself prosecuted by the Communist regime following the Second World War. If Ivanov plans to pardon the political prisoners, he has little time remaining, given that the decision, according to legal experts, could be revoked within 30 days by him or by the next President. Law professor and activist Dimitar Apasiev listed the series of amnesties given for political purposes. These include a broad amnesty to mark the independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, and the 1999 pardon of a group of ethnic Albanian politicians who raised the Albanian flag in Gostivar in 1997, prompting a police intervention which leads to four casualties. Commanders and members of the Albanian UCK/NLA terrorist group which began the 2001 insurgency also received a broad amnesty, as they went on to political careers through the “untouchable” DUI party.

 In 2016, President Ivanov tried to put an end to the growing political crisis by giving pardons to politicians from all major parties who were charged by the state prosecutors or by the recently formed Special Prosecutor’s Office. Ivanov then said that it is clear these charges are undermining Macedonia’s sovereignty and are pushing the country towards a forced name change and internal recomposing. Under pressure from the US and the EU, the recipients of the pardons were forced to ask Ivanov to withdraw his decision and law to reverse the pardons was passed. After the name VMRO-DPMNE led Government was brought down, Zaev’s selective amnesty in the Parliament incident case was adopted, and covered 20 people, most notably the members of Parliament who had bargained with Zaev to receive amnesty in exchange for their votes. After this amnesty, prosecutors loyal to Zaev expanded the case to include other VMRO officials such as deposed Speaker Trajko Veljanoski as well as former ministers Mile Janakieski and Spiro Ristovski, who were attacked in prison by Albanian terrorists immediately after they were detained.

Ready to sacrifice my post for a political solution – Meta declares (ADN)

President of the Republic, Ilir Meta declared on Wednesday that he is ready to give up from his post after he will be assured that country will have a political solution, which moves Albania forward. Also, the President stated that he is ready to sacrifice his life just like Salvador Alende to prevent the implementation of Junta that could reverse Albania where it was 30 years ago.

This, as well as other comments, were given by the President to reporters.

Mr. President, You have constantly said that the country is facing a representation and constitutional crisis. When you make this statement, what do you mean, Mr. President?

I must emphasize that the constitutional and institutional crisis is not something new. I have made known even previously the reasons and arguments why we are in such a situation where not only there is a lack of Constitutional Court and almost the entire judicial system is paralyzed, but also at the same time the efforts or even the initiatives, the special interest of the President to prevent the creation of this crisis by certain actors, were undermined. So, there is a crisis that, in my opinion, is created with a purpose, and which has jeopardized the constitutional order in the Republic of Albania and in this way also the democracy, as well as the rights of citizens and certain groups of interest. Now the crisis is deepened and aggravated even more following the unprecedented opposition’s act, which is an unacceptable and condemnable act in my opinion, which has seriously deepened the representation crisis in Albanian Parliament, as the main representative institution of Republic of Albania and Albanian citizens. In my opinion as President, the Albanian Parliament has 82 lawful MPs, including those 3 opposition MPs who refused to relinquish the mandates, as decided their respective parties. Any other number beyond this not only deepens this crisis but certainly does not help to overcome this situation as any other number is disputable on all plans. As in the constitutional plan, in the legal plan, in the procedural and political plan, in the moral plan and absolutely in our country as a completely pro-European country can be invited, one million citizens who have the appropriate age to be MPs and who are not afraid to fill in the self-declaration form to vote in the parliament laws of European integration reforms, but this should guarantee to everyone that this deep crisis of representation won’t be hidden, and at the same time does not guarantee, but rather undermines, the opening of accession negotiations for Albania. There can’t be a solution to this crisis, either through ultimatums or through rhetoric that incites violent actions, either by police methods or by financial means, but only with a fast, serious and accountable political dialogue that guarantees the restoration of political situation in normality, respecting the Constitution, respecting the separation of powers, respecting all the commitments that Albania needs to fulfill urgently for the opening of negotiations. Every day that this dialogue is postponed, every day that there is no effort by either party, the crisis not only won’t be solved but also it will escalate and can have unpredictable consequences that are unacceptable to Albanian citizens after thirty years of experience.

Mr. President, under such circumstances, being above the parties, what is your role? Are you ready to serve as the mediator for dialogue between parties?

I want to assure you and all Albanian citizens that, President Ilir Meta from the first day until today has made every effort to prevent this crisis, which has many dimensions. These are documented and I would not prefer to take your and the citizens time for mentioning what I did to prevent this situation and to give the message to the EU that we are a country that this project is a national project, for both n majority and opposition. That we are capable and prepared to open negotiations. That we are able to choose, by ruling majority and opposition, a common chief negotiator and Albania has many such, with integrity, professionalism, international reputation. That we work together for the five key priorities, although we are divided into many other issues, but always respecting the rules of democracy. All these efforts have, unfortunately, failed up to now, not because of me, but for the fact that certain actors did not want to take their responsibilities and so that’s the result. It is not important what we did because we can clarify this. What’s important is what we will do.

Do political forces have to sacrifice Mr. President?

What I want to say to you, to Mr. Rama as the Leader of the majority in Parliament, to Mr. Basha as the Leader of the opposition, but also to all the Albanian Socialists, Democrats or Non-Party citizens who are concerned for the stability of the country, want security and the opening of negotiations, as well as want to move forward towards EU membership: President Ilir Meta is very conscious of the roots of this crisis. He has warned local and international actors long ago that the situation may lead to unpredictable developments. It is important to avoid any escalation of the crisis, which may lead to confrontations, which we have seen in the past and have seriously affected the interest of the country, have infringed the lives, the rights and the property of citizens, as well as they have delayed the integration processes of Albania. For this purpose, I invite them all not to sacrifice the country for their posts or for their ambitions. In this regard, although I have no responsibility for this situation that has been created, even though I have been making every effort for almost two years as President of the Republic, to prevent such a situation and crisis, I am ready again to sacrifice in the name of a political solution that restores the constitutional, institutional, political, democratic normality in the country and which guarantees the fast progress towards the opening of EU negotiations, I am ready for the two extremes.

Starting from the resignation as President of the Republic, after I will be assured that the country will have a principled, constitutional, solid political solution that moves the country forward, and also I am ready to sacrifice my life as Salvador Alende to prevent the implementation of a junta that could take Albania 30 years back. So, Ilir Meta is prepared and is ready for both ways because despite his ambitions, he has never endangered nor can endanger his position, neither Albania nor Albanian democracy. I will stick to my oath that, between power and democracy, I will always side with democracy because only democracy guarantees power for the Albanian people in order to stop the depopulation of Albania.

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Delays in Kosovo Talks Could Destabilize Balkans, Serbia’s President Says (Reuters, by Aleksandar Vasovic and Ivana Sekularac, 21 March 2019)

BELGRADE – The failure to revive talks between Serbia and Kosovo on normalizing relations could destabilize the Western Balkan region still recovering from the wars of the 1990s, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday. Twenty years after NATO bombed the now-defunct Yugoslavia to halt Serbia’s brutal crackdown on Albanians in Kosovo, its former southern province, talks are stalled. Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and won recognition from the United States and most EU countries, but not Serbia or its big power patron Russia, and some 4,000 NATO troops remain to safeguard peace in the tiny country. Both countries must fully normalize ties, before either could progress further on their way to join the European Union. “Every day of delays could create conditions in which one spark could set the region on fire. The Western countries should know that,” Vucic told Reuters in an interview. “That is the danger … when national sentiments are stoked.” In response to Serbia’s bid to prevent Kosovo’s membership in international organizations, Pristina imposed 100 percent tariffs on goods imported from Serbia, something that could cost the Serbian economy 600 million euros in one year, around 0.4 percent of GDP. To restore the dialogue, Serbia wants those taxes abolished, a move supported by the EU and the United States. What any settlement could look like is unclear. Both Vucic and Kosovo President Hashim Thaci have floated ideas about a “correction of borders” or “delimitation” – terms interpreted by analysts as land swaps.

The West sees the integration of the entire region into the EU and NATO as a way to maintain regional stability. “Our accession to the European Union depends on the dialogue with Pristina and whether one day we will manage to reach a deal,” Vucic said, adding that he expected Germany, France or the EU to become more active in the negotiating process. “I think we will see some of their initiatives in the near future,” he said, without elaborating. Vucic, in power since 2012, said he had no plan to resign or call early elections, something demanded by thousands in opposition protests that started last December accusing his government of cronyism, corruption and stifling media freedoms, something he denies.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Summary of Karadzic verdict (ICTY)

The Appeals Judgement upheld Radovan Karadzic’s convictions on ten counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and confirmed his responsibility for four campaigns of crimes. The Appeals Chamber further granted the Prosecution’s appeal and sentenced Karadzic to life imprisonment for his crimes.

Ethnic Cleansing

The Appeals Chamber confirmed Karadzic’s convictions for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed pursuant to an overarching criminal plan that spanned the period from October 1991 to November 1995, the so-called “Overarching JCE”. Karadzic played an “integral role” in the implementation of this plan. The plan aimed to permanently remove non-Serbs from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) through a campaign of crimes. Serb Forces forcibly displaced a vast number of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from their homes. They arrested and detained victims in prisons, camps and other facilities, often under inhumane living conditions, subjected them to torture, beatings, rape and other acts of sexual violence, and then transported victims out of the Municipalities. Serb Forces also killed many Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats during and after the take-over of the municipalities, in mass executions or following attacks on non-Serb villages.

The Appeals Chamber upheld the conclusion that Karadzic intended the commission of those crimes and significantly contributed to the Overarching JCE. From the apex of political, governmental, and military structures he was able to use his power and influence to further the objective of the Overarching JCE. In particular, Karadzic was at the forefront of developing the ideology and policies, which led to the creation of a largely ethnically homogeneous Bosnian Serb state through the commission of crimes. Karadzic was also a central figure in the dissemination of propaganda against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, which identified them as the historic enemies of the Serbs and insisted that co-existence was impossible. Karadzic played on this historical narrative, and his rhetoric engendered fear and hatred of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats and had the effect of exacerbating ethnic divisions and tensions in B&H.

Siege of Sarajevo

Second, the Appeals Chamber confirmed Karadzic’s convictions for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed pursuant to a campaign of sniping and shelling in Sarajevo, the primary purpose of which was to spread terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo. This was the “Sarajevo JCE”. Citizens were exposed to sniping and shelling on an almost daily basis for three and a half years, which resulted in thousands of wounded and killed civilians. Children were shot in front of their house or while crossing a street with their mother. In addition, Bosnian Serb forces launched indiscriminate and highly destructive modified air bombs onto the city.

The Appeals Chamber upheld the conclusion that Karadzic intended the commission of those crimes and significantly contributed to the Sarajevo JCE, both as the highest political authority in RS and Supreme Commander of the VRS. Having control over the VRS throughout the conflict, he was directly involved in military matters in Sarajevo and issued orders. Karadžić used the campaign of sniping and shelling, causing terror among the civilian population in Sarajevo, as a means of exerting pressure on the Bosnian Muslim leaders and the international community in pursuit of his political goals.

Hostages

The Appeals Chamber confirmed Karadzic’s conviction for the war crime of hostage-taking for his role in the May-June 1995 detention of UN peacekeepers and military observers in order to compel NATO to cease air strikes on Bosnian Serb military targets.

Srebrenica Genocide

Finally, the Appeals Chamber confirmed Karadzic’s convictions for genocide, the crimes against humanity of persecution, extermination, murder and forcible transfer, and the war crime of murder, committed after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995. Following the take-over of Srebrenica by the VRS in July 1995, ordered by Karadzic, approximately 30,000 Bosnian Muslim women, children, and elderly men were forcibly removed from the enclave to Bosnian Muslim-held territory. Karadzic had the intent to permanently and forcibly remove the Bosnian Muslim population from Srebrenica. After the take-over, Bosnian Serb Forces detained the Bosnian Muslim men and boys in a number of locations in the area. The Appeals Chamber confirmed that, as Srebrenica fell, the long-term strategy aimed at removing the Bosnian Muslim population from Srebrenica, began to be transformed into a concrete common plan to eliminate them. Beginning on 13 July 1995 and over the following days, the detained men were taken to nearby sites where they were executed. These killings were carried out pursuant to a systematic and highly organized plan. This demonstrated that Karadzic shared with Ratko Mladic and others the intent that every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica be killed, which amounts to the intent to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica as such.

Volker: Possible that Serbia and Kosovo reach agreement this year (Voice of America, 20 March 2019)

“It is possible that Serbia and Kosovo reach agreement on normalization of relations this year and this will depend on the support that the leaders will have in both countries,” US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker told Voice of America. “It depends on what the two countries decide. There is a rule, in line with the agreement and other documents, that borders must not be changed by force, like the Russian annexation of the Crimea. This must not happen. But, if the two countries agree so in the negotiations, like Slovakia’s secession from the Czech Republic, we others must comply with this and respect this,” said Volker.

Chizhov: Moscow does not meddle in others’ affairs (ekathimerini.com, by Xenia Kounalaki, 19 March 2019)

“Is this a democratic way to solve a problem?” Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov remarked on the name deal between Greece and North Macedonia during an interview with Kathimerini on the sidelines of the Delphi Economic Forum earlier this month. He also warned against Tirana’s ambition to create a “greater Albania” as the putative territory swap between Kosovo and Serbia could set a precedent for other countries in the region. “I have seen some maps of the greater Albania, where a sizable chunk of Greece is included,” he noted. Asked about Turkey’s deal to buy S-400 missile systems from Russia, Chizhov said that if “Greece wants some S-400s, it knows where to apply.”
 

What is your take on Russian meddling in the US elections 2016, last year’s midterms and the upcoming European elections?
It’s difficult to comment on nonexistent things. I think this virus of paranoia first emerged in 2016, when the Democrats lost the US elections and then managed to cross the Atlantic. It’s a new scientific trend. First it made a stop in the United Kingdom with the Salisbury scandal, which has yet to provide any tiny bit of evidence. Where are the Skripals? Are they dead or alive? Russia as a state never intervenes in the internal affairs of other countries. Not even Venezuela.

We are witnessing a growing Russia-US clash on several fronts, from Syria to Turkey (regarding the sale of S-400 missiles to Ankara) to Venezuela. Is Donald Trump’s presidency bringing the two countries closer or widening the gap between them?
I wouldn’t say our problems started with Trump coming to the White House. Who scrapped the Anti-Ballistic Missile (AMB) Treaty in 2001? It wasn’t Trump. He wasn’t even thinking of building the Trump Tower in Moscow. He was busy organizing beauty pageants. You mentioned the S-400. What made Washington angry is the fact that [the slogan] “putting America first” meant that all allies had to stand in line and buy American weapons. We are witnessing this across Western Europe. Belgium, where I live, also chose American F-35s, which are more expensive and hardly more efficient. Some NATO countries also think that by buying American planes they will fullfil the obligation to raise their expenses to 2 percent of their GDP, another US demand. So if Greece wants some S-400s, it knows where to apply.

Do you believe we are on the brink of a new arms race, considering the looming annulment of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty?
Unfortunately it’s dead. But we are not going to funnel a bunch of money into maintaining an arms race. I belong to the generation which followed with great interest the negotiations of these disarmament treaties, including the INF. It was 1997, the time of Gorbachev, glasnost and perestroika, there was a free discussion on the merits of these agreements. There were similar discussions on the American side: Who won? Who gained, who lost more? But there was no discussion of this sort in Europe. Europe was the main beneficiary, because it was Europe where these intermediate-range missiles were deployed. And it was the territory targeted by the Russian missiles. The main difference was that Russian missiles were deployed in Soviet territory whereas the American missiles where deployed in other territory, in other countries. So what happens now? The USA is claiming that Russia has been violating the INF, but the Americans are violating it themselves, as they are putting ABM systems in Poland and Romania and they are using heavy drones, which are not mentioned in the treaty as there weren’t any at that time. Now they say we want a new, multilateral agreement that will include the Chinese. But they never asked China.

What about the Balkans – including Greece? Do you see an opportunity for Russia to implement its soft power diplomacy in the region, or do you believe the region is turning its gaze toward the West, after the Prespes agreement that opened the door for entry talks with the EU?
The American ambassador spent the whole day at the Macedonian Parliament pressing three MPs who had been serving prison sentences; they were freed from detention in order to vote. We were openly against the agreement, because this is not the way to solve a problem. Of course the issue of the name – ridiculous as it might seem to the rest of the world – should have been solved long ago. I have been telling this to my Greek and Macedonian friends, that the longer they procrastinate the more the positions of the two sides will get cemented. So, today I listened to [conservative opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos] Mitsotakis saying 70 percent of the Greek population think it’s a bad deal. A similar proportion in Northern Macedonia is against it. Is this a democratic way to solve a problem? The Macedonian Constitution was openly violated, the referendum was declared invalid, the president didn’t sign it, and now my colleagues at the EU are saying that this should serve as a template for resolving other issues. And the first that is brought to mind is Kosovo. Kosovo, by the way, is a very complicated issue. If they agree properly, the land-swap proposal might work out. But this may establish a precedent, which could create problems also in Northern Macedonia, where a substantial proportion of the population is Albanian. I have seen some maps of the greater Albania, where a sizable chunk of Greece is included.

Do you predict German realpolitik in pursuing a new gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea (Nord Stream 2) will prevail over European reservations concerning energy dependence on Moscow?

It’s not German perseverance. It’s a realistic approach. When Nord Stream 1 was built some years ago, it was declared a project of EU priority. And everything went fine, nobody said a word. Now the second pipeline, starting from a different place in Russia and running across the Baltic Sea to Germany – the idea didn’t belong to the Russian government. It didn’t belong to Gazprom either. It was the idea of several European energy companies – there are five of them involved, from Germany, France, the Netherlands, the UK and Italy. We believe that it enhances Europe’s energy security rather than the other way round. Some people admit that behind the opposition is concern over transit of Russian gas through Ukraine. We are not saying it will stop. There are different networks across Europe. For example, a country neighboring Ukraine, Moldova, has no other way of getting Russian gas than through Ukraine. There have been attempts in Brussels and other cities to derail the project. But even in the European Commission there is no universal view.

What would you say to someone who points to relations with Russia being a source of friction between EU countries?
I have been dealing with the European Union for 20 years and I was among those who were warning the EU of the 2004 major enlargement, that it might have problems, because we knew these countries better than the Western members of the EU ever did. So, we knew that in some of those countries the idea of joining both the EU and NATO was driven to a large extent by the wish to get as far away from Russia as possible. But one doesn’t chose one’s parents nor one’s neighbors.

We saw Russian President Vladimir Putin focusing for the first time on social issues in his annual state-of-the-nation address. His popularity has been diminishing in recent months. Do you see the beginnings of the end of the Putin era?
When it was higher it was driven by the course of events. Now it’s more normal. I don’t think it bothers him too much. It’s his last term, he doesn’t need to care about his re-election.

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