The EU’s attempts to attract Serbia into joining up and persuading her to disregard the loss of Kosovo are looking highly unlikely to succeed. The election which will decide the issue will be taking place in a few days time on May 11th, but the unequal treatment of Kosovan Albanian and Serbian terrorists by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, has undermined pro-EU sentiment, and boosted the feeling that the EU’s handling of the new countries of the former Yugoslavia is hopelessly one-sided.
Just as Carla Del Ponte (Pictured) wrote in her book ‘The Hunt’ recently published, Albanian Kosovan terrorists have been successful in intimidating the UN, potential witnesses and even the judges of the court into delivering lenient sentences for Albanians, with the inevitable results on Serbian opinion. See my earlier post ‘Albanian Gangsterism Is Running The Balkans’ HERE.
From the European Foundation Intelligence Digest May,
Public opinion in Serbia on the question of Kosovo was greatly inflamed on 3 April when another former senior KLA commander, Ramush Haradinaj, was acquitted of all charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague and was immediately released. As even the ICTY admitted in its own judgement, the trial was marred by repeated intimidation of witnesses, several of whom died in suspicious circumstances before they could give evidence. He returned to Kosovo in triumph. Most Serbs consider Haradinaj to be the very epitome of a drug-running, arms-dealing, racketeering terrorist and that includes the Serbian government.
There has been a chorus of condemnations from the (pro-Western) Serb President, Boris Tadić, downwards. Tadić called on the Prosecutor to appeal against Haradinaj’s acquittal: “Haradinaj,” he said, “committed serious crimes and such a decision is shameful above all because of innocent victims. For this reason, I urge the ICTY Prosecutor’s Office to file an appeal and to have Haradinaj convicted for the crimes he committed.” The Prime Minister, Vojislav Koštunica, the man who overthrew Slobodan Milošević in 2000, said, “Judging by it all, the EU believes that its right answer is not to say anything about the ICTY verdict acquitting Ramush Haradinaj and that the best thing is to pretend that nothing has happened. But, Serbia will not pass over lightly the ICTY decision to declare war criminal Ramush Haradinaj innocent.
Since the Hague tribunal is to the EU a beacon of European values, we now have to establish in a responsible way, together with the EU, whether the institution that had issued a certificate of innocence to a war criminal deserves at all to be called a court.” The President of Serbia’s National Council for Cooperation with the ICTY, Rasim Ljajić (a Muslim from Novi Pazar), said that the acquittal of Haradinaj means “that you may kill people, commit crimes, intimidate witnesses and in the end get acquitted of all responsibility.” [Tanjug, 5 & 6 April 2008]
Approaching international power-brokerage from a standpoint of moral superiority seems unlikely to succeed. The EU has no military power to deploy – only a bunch of high-minded notions it seems incapable of delivering, but which excite naive media reporters around the globe. Into the void of effectiveness is stepping Vladimir Putin, who applies no moral ideas about human rights. He has military reserves to deploy, and a determination to work through the old principles of international relations – that no country can have its borders changed by force or without a majority of its citizens agreeing. Serbia will no doubt feel safer allying with strength and clarity of Putin, in preference to the muddle and confusion of the EU.
May 11th will demonstrate whether this be true or not.
Another report from the European Foundation Intelligence Digest in May expands on this –
According to a Russian political commentator, Serbia may become a strategic partner of Russia after the parliamentary elections there on 11 May. The recognition of Kosovo and the acquittal of Ramush Haradinaj are almost certain to inflame anti-Western sentiment in Serbia, where the Radical Party has been the strongest political party for some time now. It only narrowly lost the Presidential election in January, thanks mainly to Western pressure in favour of Boris Tadić, but the EU’s behaviour since then has been perceived as a kick in the teeth by many Serbs. This may be the reason why the EU Foreign Policy High Representative, Javier Solana, has called on the EU to sign a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia very quickly, before the elections. Serbia was “in an exceptional situation”, he told the European Parliament on 8 April. Solana said that Serbia had to be shown “the way forward” for the country had a tendency to “look back”.
His words were immediately denounced in Belgrade as interference in the country’s internal political affairs. Even the pro-EU President demanded that the EU stop trying to support particular candidates – no doubt he fears that this will backfire even more than before. If the EU does sign such an agreement, it will be an astonishing U-turn because the EU position until now (since 2006) has been that Serbia cannot sign such an agreement until General Ratko Mladić is in The Hague. EU politicians are convinced that Mladić is in Serbia and that he is being hidden there.
The chances are indeed very high that the forthcoming elections will return a nationalist government composed of Radicals, Socialists (members of the party formerly headed by the late President, Slobodan Milošević) and supporters of Vojislav Koštunica. Gallup predicts that this coalition will 135 out of 250 seats in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Tadić’s pro-Western bloc is predicted to win 105 seats. According to another poll, 58.8 per cent of Serbs support stronger ties with Russia while 71.3 per cent say they do not want to join the EU if it means losing Kosovo.
Solana, of course, was Secretary-General of NATO when the Alliance attacked Yugoslavia in 1999, a war which cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars in damage to Serbia. While EU High Representative, Solana then encouraged Montenegro to secede from Serbia. Finally, he of course supported the Ahtisaari plan for the independence of Kosovo. [Pyotr Iskenderov, Strategic Culture Foundation, Moscow, http://en.fondsk.ru