Vucic says latest ruling proof of Hague tribunal's political activity

Aleksandar Vučić
Source: Aleksandar Vučić (N1)

The conviction of former Serbian intelligence officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic says all about the political activity of the tribunal in The Hague, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday.

Stanisic and Simatovic were sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment for crimes in the northern Bosnian town of Bosanski Samac, while the tribunal in The Hague did not find them responsible for any other crime, even though it believes they were responsible for forming paramilitary units controlled by the intelligence service (SDB).

Vucic said that the sentence by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in The Hague “speaks for itself” and added that in the case against Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, “the rules and court practice were changed.”

“That was the reason why also Gotovina and Markac, (Momcilo) Perisic and then in the first-instance proceedings Simatovic and Stanisic were acquitted, after which the tribunal reintroduced the old practice,” Vucic told reporters.

The change of court practice says all about the political activity of the tribunal in The Hague, he said, adding that despite that, Serbia must “preserve peace and stability.”

Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic said he did not believe the two had committed any war crimes and hoped the ruling would be revised.

Dacic said that trying to prove their involvement in a joint criminal enterprise was an attempt by the court to impose collective guilt on Serbia.

Dacic said that he knows Stanišić to be a serious and good man who had a positive role in political decision-making in the 1990s.

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