Vuk Jeremic’s Paltry UNGA Presidential Mandate Facing Exit Door

Newly-elected President of the General Assembly Amb. John Ashe  of Antigua and Barbuda (right) is congratulated by current President  Vuk Jeremic. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Newly-elected President of the General Assembly Amb. John Ashe
of Antigua and Barbuda (right) is congratulated by current President
Vuk Jeremic. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The United Nations General Assembly Friday June 14 elected by acclamation Ambassador John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda as President of its upcoming 68th session.
Taking the floor immediately after his election, Mr. Ashe, who is Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, said that in 18 months, the world body would launch an agenda for sustainable development for all, which ‘may very well be the boldest and most ambitious project that the United Nations has ever had to accomplish.’
‘In order to succeed, the General Assembly needs to be equally bold, ambitious and collaborative if we are to rise to the task we are about to undertake and ensure its completion,’ he said, adding ‘failure is not an option. Let us show the world…we can be bold and decisive in our actions.’

I’ve had plenty to say on this blog and elsewhere about Vuk Jeremic and his Presidency at the UN General Assembly and am especially proud to have been one of the initiators in questioning his motives and intentions around the organising of April 10 UNGA Thematic debate on “Role of International Criminal Justice on Reconciliation”.

Indeed, the debate was a flop, with several leading countries boycotting it.  While the Debate was supposed to address several international criminal tribunals such as for Lebanon, East Timor, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia…), Rwanda… it was obvious from the start that Jeremic was intending to make it all about Serbia and it’s disagreement with the Hague Tribunal’s acquittals of Croatian Generals of war crimes in November 2012. And this, of course is unacceptable because victims from all countries are equally important for UNGA and the UNGA President had a responsibility in ensuring that, rather than trying to bring Serbia’s issues and victims as the most important.

New York based Vecernji List journalist Jadranka Juresko-Kero reports on events at East River Friday 14 June and says that at the elections of the new UNGA President, Vuk Jeremic was convinced how his mandate will not be remembered as one of the successful ones and that a great majority of member states can’t wait for him to leave so that they may be able to forget as quickly as possible how the Serbian representative attempted to use that honourable position for the promotion of his own country’s interests, with such a forceful and diplomatically unbecoming manner.

It’s customary for member states to applaud the work and efforts of an outgoing UNGA president at the election meeting for a new president”, writes Juresko – Kero. Not in this case. Juresko-Kero continues: “ How much regard member states hold for Vuk Jeremic is best reflected in that the Eastern Europe group of UN member states to which Croatia belongs did not, even as a matter of courtesy, thank Jeremic for his UN work on Friday. It’s the UN usual practice that at the elections of new GA president, the work of the exiting one is commended, and if he was truly successful all his efforts and contribution to the work of the UN are emphasized. In cases where member states are not satisfied with the candidate but believe that he did not have ill intentions they express gratitude as a matter of diplomatic courtesy, but that did not occur in Vuk Jeremic’s case. Vecernji List has found out via the representatives of US diplomacy that the Germans as representatives of the EU group also did not wish to acknowledge and convey positive messages for Jeremic’s work, but for protocol’s sake managed to coolly thank him for the ‘peculiar style’ he demonstrated in New York”.

When we supported Vuk Jeremic’s election for the President of the General Assembly we believed that he, as a young and educated man, will be of wide views and cooperate with everyone and that Serbia, which has lost in every sense – war and territorial – will know how to value the diplomatic opportunity it received. We are deeply disappointed because Jeremic has turned his East River cabinet into a Serbian fortress, he exclusively deals with the problems of his country, ignores all others, manipulates the respect of this world organization and we all can hardly wait for his one year mandate to end this summer”, an EU diplomat reportedly said to Vecernji List journalist at East River on Friday.

To anyone – like Vuk Jeremic – who did not permit the victims of war crimes to be present at the April 10 UNGA Thematic Debate on the role of international criminal justice and reconciliation (a debate that touched them in every sense) I say: good riddance! I won’t even go into his awful antics whereby as UNGA President he organised celebrations of Serbian Orthdox New Year at East River, early in 2013, and had the Serb song “March on Drina” performed there, unbeknownst to the UN General Secretary and most member states’ representatives that this very song was hummed and sung by Serbian forces during their killing sprees in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990’s! Of course victims’ organisations were in shock and complained and were abhorred, after which Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General was placed in the humiliating position of having to apologise to victims of that war for that awful orchestration at the UN. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Not Inviting Victims To UNGA Debate On International Criminal Justice – Inexcusable!

Press Conference at the UN – most touching plight by witness of genocide.

10 Apr 2013 – Speakers: His Royal Highness Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations and H.E. Mr. Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of the Principality  of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, along with Munira Subasic, President of the Association of “Mothers of Srebrenica” and Murat Tahirovic and Nikola Findrik of the Association of Witnesses and Survivors of Genocide.

Related event: UN General Assembly thematic debate on the role of international criminal justice in reconciliation.


Related Post

Twisted Churkin’s churning in support of Vuk Jeremic’s (Serbia’s)UNGA political attack on ICTY

Munira Subasic - Mothers of Srebrenic Ushered out of UN debate by security Photo: Agencija Anadolija

Munira Subasic – Mothers of Srebrenica
Ushered out of UN debate by security
Photo: Agencija Anadolija

The UNGA debate on the role of international criminal justice on reconciliation organised and planned by Vuk Jeremic (Serbian politician), president of UNGA, held 10 April, did as I feared: pushed forth in representing the worst possible face of twisted justice and undermined human rights.

And this is the United Nations!
The United Nations that prides itself on the protection of human rights – on upholding the rights of and compassion with victims of war crimes above all! Yet, passionate genocide deniers, marshals of misinformation and justifiers of unbearable crimes, who tried very hard to rewrite the history of Serb aggression in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990’s through attacking the international courts of justice, hogged the lectern and Serbia had its unsavoury moment – yet again.
Munira Subasic, president of Mothers of Srebenica, called Jeremic’s speech and his exclusion of the victims from the debate “offensive.” She was ushered out of the UNGA hall by security, but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon “took pity” on her and met with her later!

Given that he was present at the debate he would have served justice and human rights much better had he broken Jeremic’s protocol for the debate and allowed her to speak.
Jeremic, though, used his position to allow Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, a genocide denier, to make a speech in which he attempted to paint Serbs as the victims of the Bosnian conflict rather than its aggressors.

But wait a minute! Jeremic also brought the Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin to the lectern.

…The ease with which the originally unanimous verdict against Gotovina and Mladen Markac was overturned with a vote of 3-2 is stunning, as the case that involved mass killings and deportation of Serbs had been investigated for years prior to the trial, said the Russian official.

Russia doubts the decision was made on legal basis, he stated, stressing that cases like that do not satisfy justice because it was not determined who was to blame for the crimes”. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, according to Serbia’s Tanjug news agency.

Well, if one believed that Serbia’s propaganda churns out the truth of what happened on the ground during Operation Storm for which Croatian Generals Gotovina and Markac were indicted by the ICTY, then one might think that there’s nothing wrong with what Churkin says.

But Churkin, like Serbia’s politicians know that the truth is far from what they’re peddling, hoping the “world” would believe them.  The actual original ICTY indictments regarding the “mass killings” go like this:
Between 4 August 1995 and 15 November 1995, Croatian forces unlawfully killed at least 150 Krajina Serbs by shooting, burning and stabbing them”. That Gotovina etc “knew or had a reason to know … that Croatian forces were committing these crimes”.

And if a court, appeal court, decided that the individual persons, i.e. Gotovina and Markac, were not responsible for the killings, which, except evil persons would continue suggesting they were, I ask!

It’s so much clearer to me now why Cold War existed between the “West” and the “East” for so many years.

I am quite convinced that Jeremic (and Serbia’s leadership) had planned to attack the international criminal tribunals and hold them responsible for the lack of progress in reconciliation because of the acquittals by the ICTY. According to the Serbian train of thought someone committed the crimes against Serbs and, therefore, it’s not fair to set free anyone from the Croatian side, even if they are found innocent of the charges by the court!

I am so proud to belong to the side of the world which holds that the international criminal justice system could never replace national mechanisms and people in building true bridges between former enemies. Indeed, to the likely Jeremic’s and Nikolic’s bitter disappointment, the majority of the delegates at the UN debate made conclusions to similar effects.

There is no real chance of those bridges being built while genocide deniers orchestrate such debates at UN and fail to recognise the war crimes their countrymen had committed.

Now, I am so much prouder than ever before to be associated in life with the part of the world that decided to boycott this sham debate.

To heal as a nation, as a region, as a world, we need to acknowledge what happened. We need to wipe away any attempts at impunity. Criminals have to be brought to justice. Victims have to be given an opportunity to tell their story to the world. If we pretend genocide never happened, then history will repeat itself. And none of us—whether we lived it, survived it, or just heard about on the news—should just stand by while politicians try to rewrite history.
That’s why we need international tribunals: international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, for Rwanda, for Sierra Leone and Lebanon, for Cambodia — and now the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the world. These judicial institutions not only administer justice, they create a record of truth. This is what happened: the good, the bad, and the ugly. They preserve evidence that can’t be rewritten, or changed, or forgotten. They are the true vehicles of peace, for there can’t be peace without justice”, writes Diana Jenkins in Huffington Post.
Let’s not hold our breath saying: OK, this is over, now let’s get on with real life and reconciliation. Serbia with the aid of UNGA President Jeremic is likely to serve the world with yet another pathetic chapter of shoving politics into criminal justice in order to justify genocide, before Jeremic’s UN mandate ends.  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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