The president of the Serb National Council, Milorad Pupovac, said on Friday that Vojislav Seselj's non-final acquittal seriously compromised the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, adding that the tribunal was wrapping up its work "in the worst way possible, with a series of acquittals" and "increasingly resembles a store before closing in which justice is on sale".
"This verdict is a shock to all victims of war policies, notably the policy connected with Vojislav Seselj, and at the same time it shows that the tribunal in The Hague is wrapping up its work in the worst possible way, with a series of acquittals which means that someone -- either the tribunal or the prosecutor's office -- failed to do its job right. From great expectations we are now moving to the sale of those expectations, where the tribunal increasingly resembles a store before closing in which justice is on sale, which gravely compromises the earlier work of the tribunal and the prosecutor's office and again brings the peoples in this region in a conflict, both in terms of their emotions and their views," Pupovac told Hina.
He is confident that the ICTY and the Prosecutor's Office contribute to a feeling of injustice and non-reconciliation and that countries in the region now have a special responsibility to do everything in their power not to turn the negative consequences of the Seselj acquittal into a permanent state of political relations. This particularly goes for relations between Croatia and Serbia which are fragile and have the potential to treat acquittals of this kind in the long as giving legitimacy to hate speech, warmongering and war policies in general, Pupovac believes.
"As far as the position of the Serbs in Croatia is concerned, there is no doubt that the non-punishment of any crime, including incitement, cannot be welcomed or supported. We advocate the sanctioning of hate speech and warmongering (...) because this is a guarantee for civilised relations within and among countries," Pupovac said.