The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Carmel Agius, and Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz have expressed their disappointment at the decision by the High Court in Belgrade not to hand over three senior Serbian Radical Party (SRS) officials to the Hague-based tribunal to face contempt of court charges, saying that that is a step back in Serbia's cooperation with the ICTY.
That is a serious step back in Serbia's cooperation with the ICTY and unacceptable disregard of the priority of the tribunal's rules over Serbia's national law, as defined by the Security Council, Agius told the UN Security Council on Wednesday while presenting a report on the tribunal's work in the last six months, including Serbia's cooperation with the tribunal.
The High Court in Belgrade ruled in mid-May that not all the conditions had been met for the arrest of Petar Jojic, Vjerica Radeta and Jovo Ostojic. The tribunal has been demanding for a year and a half that they be transferred to The Hague to answer charges of interfering with witnesses in the case of SRS leader Vojislav Seselj.
Brammertz said that "Serbia has turned away from the path of full cooperation with the tribunal," adding that Serbia has failed for a year and a half to execute the tribunal's arrest warrants for the three individuals indicted for contempt. He noted that in this final phase of the tribunal’s work, state cooperation remains essential to enable the completion of the tribunal's mandate.
Brammertz further informed the Security Council that the positive trend in regional cooperation in war crimes "appears to be reversing".
"Too many politicians and public figures are denying well-established truths, enflaming ethnic tensions and repeating nationalistic slogans of the past," the chief prosecutor said.
Agius said that the ICTY was determined to complete its work by the end of 2017.