The outgoing President of the UN war crimes tribunal Judge Theodor Meron told N1 on Tuesday that he is optimistic about the future of the region, but that he has to react to negative occurrences such as the recent interview in which Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the crimes in Srebrenica were not genocide.
“I am disappointed by anything that has been done in Serbia or elsewhere to deny that genocide was committed in Srebrenica. I made that very clear to the (Serbian) prime minister. I am against any form of denial of war crimes, especially genocide,” Meron said, adding that the Hague Tribunal determined that the events in Srebrenica were clearly genocide.
Meron was appointed as President of International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in 2012. The Mechanism, established by the UN Security Council in 2010, was tasked with performing all the residual functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after its mandate had ended. Meron is also the former president of the (ICTY).
“It does not help any government to challenge the findings of any international court and I hope that over time the government of Serbia will express support for the judgements of the Hague Tribunal and realize that it does not serve its own interests to challenge the judgements of international courts,” he said.
He said that he had told officials in Belgrade that Serbia needs to continue being active in bringing alleged war criminals to justice.
“I think our legacy has already made an important impact since people who committed crimes were brought to justice,” Meron said.
The judge expressed his conviction that the established facts in tribunal records will contribute to reconciliation and help the victims get closure, but warned that reconciliation has to be done at the national level.
“National leaders have to lead their communities and governments to more active reconciliation. The wounds are still raw because the war happened only a few years ago,” he said and said an example of that were the significant efforts invested by Germany after World War II to face the crimes of the Nazi regime.
According to Meron, all the countries of the region have been given material for national prosecutions.
“National jurisdiction should lead the way and I expect all the countries of the region to continue and intensify their efforts”, he said.