ICTY: The Tribunal Is Dead, Long Live the Tribunal?

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



In December the activity of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) officially came to an end. On December 21st the closing ceremony of this institution took place, attended by the UN Secretary General, the King of the Netherlands, and judicial and public prosecutorial cadres of so-called international justice. At a ceremony the leadership of the tribunal highly praised itself in every possible way. Allegedly, the ICTY “brought to responsibility the main persons responsible for war crimes on the territory of the former Yugoslavia”, “contributed to the reconciliation of the sides of the conflict”, “put an end to impunity”, “laid the foundations for the highest standards of the implementation of justice”, etc.

But what is it in reality?

In fact, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is an institution that was created illegally. The foundations of this tribunal to judge citizens of the former Yugoslavia, from the point of view of international law, are equal to zero. Although the ICTY was established by the UN Security Council, legally speaking the resolution of the Security Council No. 827 of May 25th, 1993, is void: it, in general, doesn’t have any legal justification for such an unusual step as the creation of the international tribunal. The UN Charter doesn’t provide the possibility of the creation of any tribunals at all. Court proceedings can be created only on the basis of an international treaty. In addition, neither the UNSC, nor the United Nations in general have any powers over the citizens of member States. The UN has powers only in relation to States. Jurisdiction concerning individual persons is within the competence of the States themselves.

Today it is absolutely clear that the ICTY hasn’t executed any of the tasks assigned to it. Thus, the “persons bearing the main responsibility for violating the norms of international humanitarian law on the territory of the former Yugoslavia” remain unpunished. And not because the tribunal didn’t try hard enough, but because the purpose of the ICTY was to bring the chief criminals out of responsibility. One can wonder: the tribunal was created to punish the persons who committed war crimes, but those who launched the war don’t interest the founders of the tribunal. And the logic is in this: the countries that pushed forward the creation of the ICTY not only prepared the destruction of Yugoslavia long before Tito’s death, but also were involved in military operations on the side of the Bosnian Muslims.

All of this was reflected in the activity of the tribunal. Firstly, the vast majority of judges of the tribunal were representatives of NATO member States. Individual obstinate persons (who were a bit insignificant) were quickly got rid of. Secondly, the tribunal practically didn’t bring any charges to Bosnian Muslims, and the few charges that were brought were to demonstrate the “objectivity” of the tribunal and … to strengthen the position of Bosnian Muslims in the version of history that was written by the ICTY. From the charges against a small number of Bosnian Muslims, the defendants were either acquitted or received demonstratively lenient punishments. In particular, most bloody “representatives” of the Bosnian Muslims in “an ethnic deal” of the ICTY – Sefer Halilovich and Nasser Orich have been acquitted.

When assessing the activity of the ICTY it is necessary to proceed not from what was officially proclaimed, but from the real purposes of this institution. In our opinion, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had two main objectives.

The first objective of the ICTY is the elimination of the top political and military authorities of the Serbs in the republics of the former Yugoslavia. The ICTY brought charges against the Serbian leadership in Serbia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina … It is precisely the Serbs as a people who became the main subject of the Hague tribunal’s attack. It was the Serbs who became the main obstacle in front of the total destruction of the former Yugoslavia. Serbians in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia showed resistance to the West. It’s not a coincidence that in the case of General Mladic two judges – Alphons Orie (Netherlands) and Christoph Flügge (Germany) – as a part of the three-person trial chamber represented those NATO member States whose aircraft bombed the positions of the Bosnian Serbians under Ratko Mladic’s command. The ICTY also aimed to liquidate potential future leaders of the Serbian people. So, the pushing forward of the charges against the head of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Šešelj aimed to prevent his election as the President of Serbia. This was quite frankly said in the memoirs “The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals” of the former chief prosecutor of the ICTY Carla Del Ponte.

The second objective of the ICTY is the destruction of international law with the substitution of its so-called global law. It became gradually clear that some of the ICTY’s separate legal “somersaults” are not an accident. The Hague tribunal started to systematically change the rules of international law. Some international conventions of the ICTY were rewritten as it suited it. Moreover, the tribunal begun to create its own norms, gradually outlining the contours of global law. And here the “global” element is connected not with territorial coverage, but with such a source of new norms as the system of global governance. One of the “new norms” is the maniacal idea of the ICTY and other International Courts of Justice that heads of State and government “don’t have any immunity any more according to the holes of international law”. So, the practice of destroying the institution of the State is consistently implemented. After all, the immunity of heads of States is not a personal privilege, but an expression of State immunity.

Today it is necessary to draw the conclusion that the real (not declarative) objectives of the ICTY were successfully implemented. The Hague tribunal, indeed, destroyed all the top leadership of Serbians on the territory of the former Yugoslavia and, having caused serious damage to international law, put the first brick in the foundations of the so-called global law. This tribunal started to create a criminal justice system that legalises global governance. The system that started to be built with the ICTY already today includes several tens of courts and tribunals.

When exclaiming “The tribunal is dead!”, it is necessary to add: “Long live the tribunal!” The ICTY is replaced by a new institution under the crooked name “Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals” (MICT). The “residual mechanism” will continue the activity of the ICTY. And it will work until it considers all the cases that the ICTY wasn’t able to and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, closed in 2016. And so that this work lasts for many years, the ICTY ordered a new trial concerning the already acquitted J. Stanišić and F. Simatovic, the former heads of security in Slobodan Milosevic’s government. MICT will consider the appeals of Radovan Karadžić, the General Ratko Mladic, and Vojislav Šešelj, which were also submitted to the prosecutor’s office. And, finally, MICT did not prudently arrest a number of defendants in the tribunal for Rwanda. They are still being “searched for”. And as soon as someone will try to raise the question of closing this “mechanism”, they will be quickly found to further prolong the life of this disgraceful and illegal mock trial …

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