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Moscow says Karadzic verdict continues myth of Serbs’ sole responsibility for Yugoslav war

March 25, 19:59 UTC+3
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has become a place for scoring old scores and an instrument of revenge, Russia's Foreign Ministry says
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© Natalia Garnelis/TASS

MOSCOW, March 25 /TASS/. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has become a place for scoring old scores and an instrument of revenge. It ignores the deadlines, which the United Nations Security Council has set for its work, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday commenting a verdict passed on the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic.

The ICTY sentenced Karadzic to 40 years in jail on Thursday on genocide charges.

"The court’s ruling consisting of 2,600 pages needs a careful and detailed study. As we understand, the counsel for the defense is planning to appeal against the verdict," the Russian Foreign Ministry went on to say.

"However, even now it’s clear that this is one of the severest ICTY verdicts passed on Serbs against the background of a series of acquittals of other participants in the Yugoslav civil war, including Croatian General Ante Gotovina, Kosovo Albanian Ramush Haradinaj and Bosnian field commander Naser Oric," the ministry went on to say.

Moscow also noticed the date - March 24-which the ICTY chose for announcing its verdict on Karadzic. On March 24, 1999, NATO’s coalition forces started its 78-day bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia - another crime, which the ICTY has refused to investigate.

The ICTY verdict on Karadzic continues a myth of the Serbs’ sole responsibility for the Yugoslav civil war.

"The civil war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the NATO bombardments are a tragic chapter in world history," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its release. "It is hard to imagine that only one side committed all the crimes in that war. The ICTY, however, continues building a myth of the Serbs’ sole responsibility for those events. As a consequence, the dynamics of inter-ethnic and inter-confessional reconciliation in the Balkans has been seriously undermined," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

"Russia which supported the ICTY creation in 1993 said openly that the tribunal should not become a place for settling scores or an instrument of revenge but be a true institute of justice, which would lead to the triumph of justice and common sense. These expectations have not come true. Today, even the ICTY judges do not conceal that the court uses dubious methods in its work," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"It should be borne in mind that the ICTY, an ad hoc or provisional institution, has been operating for more than 20 years and has spent billions on its work," the Russian Foreign Ministry went on to say.

"It has been ignoring the deadlines set by the UN Security Council for its work and is a heavy burden on the world community’s shoulders," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

Moscow is convinced that the money spent by the ICTY would have been more useful, had it been invested in the restoration of justice and the promotion of reconciliation processes in the former Yugoslavia.

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