Croatia’s Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic Flogs A Dead Horse At UN Human Rights Council

Vesna Pusic Photo: Screenshot UN WEB TV 3 March 2015

Vesna Pusic
Photo: Screenshot UN WEB TV 3 March 2015

 

Croatia’s foreign minister and deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusic is in the grand scheme of the UN map – insignificant. However, when she stands up at a UN event giving a speech on violations of human rights then Croats, indeed the world, need to pay attention, for she is the very example of hypocrisy on two legs.

She spoke of violations of human rights and how the world – UN – should fight against these when her own track record on these matters in Croatia tells us the fight under her “tutelage” has no chance of any success.

So, she flogged a dead horse in Geneva on 2 March 2015!

For years now she has served in the high position of power in Croatia and yet has done absolutely nothing with respect to the plight for justice coming from war crime rape victims from Croatia’s Homeland War. She has done nothing to ensure rapists are thoroughly dealt with and brought to justice; she has done nothing in the possible pursuit of removing the amnesty from prosecution and impunity for war crimes afforded to many Serb rapists, some of whom are still freely walking the streets of Vukovar, keeping their victims in continuous distress, for instance.

Please see this documentary “Sunny” published in 2014 to give a voice to women and men who were victims of rape in the war in an effort to grant them the status of victims of war crimes entitled to every means of assistance and support. To bring the perpetrators to justice.

 

 

And yet, Vesna Pusic had the gall to speak in Geneva this week, lecturing the world on how it should deal with sexual violence as a form of human rights violation!

Did she speak at the UN Human Rights Council with the intention of paving a way to perhaps secure herself an international position, perhaps in Human Rights field, once she is no longer in power in Croatia? My answer to this question is – yes. But I do so dread being a citizen of the world where people like Vesna Pusic give speeches and in real life do the opposite of what they are preaching, or do nothing to better the world; stand idly by while the world around them alarmingly deteriorates.
There are three types of human rights violations in the world today, Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said at the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday 2nd of March.

The violations in question are violations of women’s rights worldwide in fighting sexual violence, violations of human rights in Ukraine and violations of the freedom of speech manifested as hate speech. One of the most extreme examples of human rights violations are ISIL decapitations, the Foreign Ministry quoted the minister as saying in her address.
“… when we examine the functioning of countries’ judiciary we look at how well they fight corruption…white collar crime … but never ever have I seen an evaluation of a country’s judiciary on how well it fights sexual violence. How well it prosecutes rape cases. How effective it is in fighting through its courts, through its judiciary system sexual violence. How well it prosecutes the perpetrators. How well it fights impunity for sexual violence in peace time let alone in times of war. And make no mistake, not fighting sexual violence in peace time is directly related to widespread sexual violence in times of war…this is one area which demonstrates that however long we have been aware of the problem without fighting and finding efficient ways of addressing the problem in a way in which it will go away, in a way in which it will become centre stage problem, not just one of those things, it will stay and it will spread. So I think we need a new onslaught, new crusade against sexual violence, against impunity for crimes committed either in war or in peace…” Pusic said in her speech.

Then in the same speech Vesna Pusic spoke of violations of freedom of speech that are manifested in hate speech! And yet, in Croatia, she as a highly positioned member of the government has done nothing to sanction (at least by way of public statements) hate speech that comes in the form of labeling as fascism all expressions of Croatian patriotism or democratic avenues of protest against violations of rights, such as is the case with the current war veterans protest that is well into its fourth month in Zagreb. It cannot elude any reasonable mind to see that her government is the leading force behind this hate speech and when people, for instance, point to the facts of communist crimes she and her lot label that as hate speech! She fails to acknowledge that there is no hate speech in citing facts such as mass graves, mass murders – victims of communist Yugoslavia regime, and the like.
“…Hate speech is a form of mobilizing global lynch mobs. People who decide that they have the right to hate other people so much that they go and kill people in our streets…or people who think differently who have different political opinion. Hate speech has been extremely effective. I don’t remember in my long life seeing it as effective as it is today. To mobilise people to kill other people, to violate their human rights …” Pusic said.

What a pathetic liar!

Vesna Pusic lived and thrived in Communist Yugoslavia, in a communist family who were, I believe, well aware of human rights violations of people who were against the communist regime; who had done nothing to protest against such widespread human rights violations. If she was not aware during her life in Yugoslavia of Tito’s communist purges where hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed, others tortured and imprisoned because of their political opinions, then she has become aware of them after more than 650 mass graves of communist crimes victims were unearthed in Croatia, particularly after 1990’s. But still turned the other way!

Furthermore, she and her government fund exorbitantly the Documenta NGO of which her brother Zoran Pusic is the President of the Board, and which deals with “the past” but avoids with every fiber of its being to address communist crimes! The crimes that have left multitudes of victims; the crimes that are left unaddressed – still, and which continue to feed profound distress in that society.

The European Court of Human Rights has identified a number of forms of expression, which are to be considered hate speech – offensive and contrary to the Convention on Human Rights (including racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, aggressive nationalism and discrimination against minorities and immigrants). However, the Court is also careful to make a distinction in its findings between, on the one hand, genuine and serious incitement to extremism and, on the other hand, the right of individuals (including journalists and politicians) to express their views freely and to “offend, shock or disturb” others.
There is no universally accepted definition of the expression “hate speech” and various courts throughout the “Western” world have established various parameters making it possible to characterise “hate speech” in order to exclude it from the protection afforded to freedom of expression or freedom of assembly and association.

A person with such an appalling record in fighting violations of human rights (eg prosecuting rapists, removing impunity of rapists…), a person with such an appalling record of doing nothing to improve the welfare of victims of human rights violations, such as those in Croatia that relate to the forms of human rights violations Vesna Pusic spoke of in Geneva this week, has no place in a UN Human Rights Council! Of that I am convinced and I do not stand alone in this! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia Rejects Unequivocally The Hatred Originating Once Again From Serbia

Croatian Member of EU Parliament Andrej Plenkovic Who tabled the critical EUP resolution  on the Serbian nationalist Vojislav Seselj

Croatian Member of EU Parliament
Andrej Plenkovic
Who tabled the critical EUP resolution
on the Serbian nationalist Vojislav Seselj

 

Significant moves outside Serbia have occurred since my last post on Vojislav Seselj on 23 November and his hate speeches that attempt justifying Serb war crimes across Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s. These significant moves do not include an inkling of condemnation of Seselj’s dangerously hateful public outbursts by Serbia’s government. If anything, Serbia’s government can be seen as condoning Seselj’s actions even though they try very hard to convince the world that Seselj has nothing to do with Serbia’s government but find no words to condemn the man and his disturbing ethnic hatred speeches. He continues, freely, with the same rhetoric he served upon Serbs in the early 1990’s, which served as fuel to the despicable atrocities and war crimes against Croats, Bosniaks and other non-Serbs in former Yugoslavia.

The European Parliament resolution on 27 November instigated by Croatian MEPs and backed by all the main political groups has slammed the recent activities of accused Serbian war criminal Vojislav Seselj.
The EP resolution – declaration – condemns “Seselj’s warmongering, incitement to hatred and encouragement of territorial claims and his attempts to derail Serbia from its European path” and adds that his rhetoric “has reopened the victims’ psychological wounds” from the war and the atrocities of the early 1990s.
The resolution also calls on the International Crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to “take measures to re-examine the existence of requirements for provisional release under new circumstances.”

Seselj, the vicious madman of Serbia’s Greater Serbia political cauldron, responded to the EP declaration by saying that he would not return to The Hague voluntarily, stressing that he was very proud of the declaration adopted by the Croatian Parliament and the resolution passed by the European Parliament, especially because the latter was initiated by Croatian MEPs. Serbia’s government, of course, instead of condemning Seselj’s hate speech and sanctioning, or at least limiting, the content for any public speeches to be made by Seselj in order to curb hate speech that easily stirs many an ultranationalist into criminal activities has gone on the defensive without actually addressing the hate rhetoric stirring up unrest in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as deep concern in most EU countries.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has tried to play down the significance of Seselj’s comments.
There is nothing in today’s Serbia that connects this government and Vojislav Seselj, about whom I don’t even want to talk,” Vucic said on Thursday.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that the EUP declaration was offensive for Serbia as well as annoying and disappointing for its citizens!

Croatia’s Prime Minister said on Friday 28 November (source HRT TV news) he had scrapped a planned trip to Serbia next month due to Belgrade’s failure to distance itself from comments made by the Serbian ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj recently temporarily freed from a U.N. war crimes tribunal pending judgment.
Zoran Milanovic’s cancellation highlights a new chill in ties between Croatia and Serbia. To my view “closer” ties should not have been cemented without Serbia’s acknowledgement of the crucial part it played in the war crimes and aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s. But Serbia has a disturbing knack at playing the victim, when in fact it represents the perpetrator of aggression.

Seselj continues to be hailed in Serbia as a hero by many supporters. He has said he still believes in the ‘Greater Serbia’ ideology that fuelled the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo two decades ago. It would seem he has solid support for this devastating disposition within Serbia’s government. The lack of Serbian government’s condemnation of Seselj’s rabble rousing can, to my view, only be interpreted as support for him.
Addressing the Serbian authorities, Milanovic added on Friday:
All I am asking is that you say ‘this (Seselj’s comments) is not good, this is evil and I am distancing myself from this’. For some reason this government won’t say that and in these circumstances it would be ridiculous for me to go there“.

While Croatia plans to bring the issue of Seselj’s temporary release from The Hague, pending judgment, to the UN Security Council in the coming days it’s most prudent to consider the view on the matter presented by Luka Misetic, the defense attorney in the ICTY case against Croatian general Ante Gotovina who was acquitted by the Tribunal of war crimes contained in the indictment against

Justice Requires that Seselj’s Judgment Be Delivered Orally First

After eleven years of trial, the ICTY owes a final judgment to the victims, to the many witnesses who took the risk to testify against Seselj, and to Seselj himself. The ICTY cannot simply sit back and hope that Seselj survives his liver cancer for another year and half, long enough for Judge Niang to become familiar with the evidence and to deliver a written Trial Judgment in 2016.

The Trial Chamber can possibly avoid this doomsday scenario of Seselj dying before judgment can be delivered. It can deliver the Judgment orally, without a written judgment, almost as soon as a majority of the judges agree on the ultimate issue of the guilt or innocence of Mr. Seselj. Rule 98(C) ter of the ICTY’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence states:

The judgement shall be rendered by a majority of the Judges. It shall be accompanied or followed as soon as possible by a reasoned opinion in writing, to which separate or dissenting opinions may be appended. [5]

The phrase ‘or followed as soon as possible’ clearly implies that the Trial Chamber has the power to deliver an oral Judgement first, if it is in the interests of justice to do so, and provide a written Judgement as soon as practicable thereafter. Indeed, this procedure was followed in Aleksovski, where the Judges of the Trial Chamber first delivered an oral Judgement after finding that “at this stage of their deliberations it is important to convene a hearing in the presence of the accused, the Prosecution and Defence counsel as quickly as possible so that they may pronounce their Judgment.

In explaining the Trial Chamber’s decision to pronounce Judgement orally, the Presiding Judge in Aleksovski stated as follows:

Your trial proper started before this Trial Chamber on January 6th, 1998, and ended on March 23rd, 1999. Since that date, my colleagues and I have been deliberating, assessing, and reviewing all the evidence, briefs, and written documents of the trial. The conclusions which we have reached have seemed of such a nature that they justify amply the fact that the hearing be organised in the shortest of delays, without waiting for the final judgement to be put down in writing. This judgement will be made public as early as possible, but the urgency seems to be such that we have not waited for the return of the senior trial attorney of this trial, Mr. Grant Niemann, to which I would like to pay homage. May he be made aware that we are very sorry that he is not present today for we have always been very pleased with his work. I would like to say the same for Mr. Mikulicic: We are very sorry not to see them here today.

The Aleksovski Trial Chamber sentenced the Accused to two years and six months imprisonment. However, because the Accused had already been in detention for a period of time longer than the imposed sentence, the Trial Chamber ordered his immediate release on 7 May 1999. The written Judgement was not delivered until 25 June 1999.

The Seselj Trial Chamber should follow the precedent of the Aleksovski Trial Chamber and use its powers under Rule 98(C) ter to deliver a judgment as soon as a majority has reached a decision. If Judges Antonetti and Lattanzi have already reached a majority decision even without Judge Niang’s vote, then nothing precludes them from rendering their oral decision right now, because Rule 98(C) ter expressly states that the Judgement shall be rendered ‘by a majority of the Judges,’ not necessarily by all of the Judges. They do not have to wait for Judge Niang if they have already reached a majority Judgment. Indeed, even if Judges Antonetti and Lattanzi have reached a majority Judgment on certain counts but not others, Rule 98 (C) ter does not prevent them from issuing a partial oral judgment on those counts.

If Judges Antonetti and Lattanzi are deadlocked and have differing judgments on Seselj’s guilt, then the proceedings indeed will have to wait for Judge Niang to complete his review of the evidence, begin deliberations, and cast his tiebreaking vote. Even under this scenario, however, the Trial Chamber should not wait for a written Judgement to be prepared before pronouncing on Seselj’s guilt. As soon as Judge Niang has cast his vote, the Trial Chamber should immediately schedule an oral Judgment (hopefully in the summer of 2015), and render its decision on guilt or innocence orally. If Seselj dies thereafter, the Trial Chamber will nevertheless retain jurisdiction to deliver the written Judgement explaining its already delivered oral Judgment.

The ICTY will have to utilize some creative thinking and little known rules (like Rule 98(C) ter) in order to avoid the situation where Seselj dies and no judgment is ever delivered. That result would render the Seselj case a complete farce. Seselj has already been allowed to turn the ICTY proceedings against him into a circus during his lifetime. He should not be allowed to cement that legacy by escaping judgment through his death.”

Victims’ groups and human rights activists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia as well as some in Serbia have throughout the past week issued statements approving of the EU Parliament’s resolution regarding Seselj’s inflammatory rhetoric. But all that seems futile, for at the root stands the fact that nothing human or humane moves Seselj or those who think like him. The added suffering victims of war crimes are forced to endure because of his latest spree of cruelty on the public stage in Serbia means nothing to him or to the Serbian government that chooses not to ban his public gatherings. Perhaps the UN Security Council will bring a dose of peace and humanity and cut Seselj’s hatred from spreading further. Let’s watch and wait to see what develops even if one did expect, albeit in futility, the current Serbian government to promptly nip in the bud the regurgitation of 1990’s ethnic hatred it used to occupy parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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