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Reserves towards Hague tribunal justified
December 24, 1998

Zoran Knezevic, Yugoslav Justice Minister
Zoran Knezevic, Yugoslav Justice Minister
Belgrade, Dec 23 (Tanjug) - Yugoslav Justice Minister Zoran Knezevic told Tanjug Wednesday that the talks the Yugoslav delegation held with the Prosecutor and Chief Judge of the Hague Tribunal, Louise Arbour and Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, were mutually described as useful for resolving difficulties in their cooperation, and took place in a correct atmosphere with the highest mutual regard.

Knezevic, who headed the Yugoslav delegation, said that in the talks with Louise Arbour it was pointed out that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has had reservations about the Tribunal since its setting up. Its ad hoc nature, the manner of its financing (to a great extend with donations) and the its manner of activity indicated that the Tribunal is more a political than a legal institution.

The FRY, despite these principled remarks, concluded on August 12, 1996 with U.N. Secretary General at the time Boutros Ghali an agreement on the opening of a Tribunal office in Belgrade. Under the agreement competent FRY bodies committed themselves to act in conformity with demands for legal aid to the prosecutor, if those demands are not contrary to the Yugoslav constitution, laws and rules of international law.

The talks with Louise Arbour, Knezevic underlined, justified our reservations towards the Hague tribunal. That is further confirmed by the fact that the number of indictments issued against persons of Serbian nationality is in extreme disproportion with the number of indictments against Croats and Muslims.

Our country has submitted nine reports to the U.N. Security Council and the Tribunal with ample evidence for launching proceedings in the cases of Medacki Dzep, Maslenica, operations Storm and Flash, Celebici, Trnopolje and Kosevo, but no proceedings have been initiated except in the case of Celebici.


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