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“Mladic’s arrest will not open EU doors to Serbia”

Published time: May 27, 2011 08:24
Edited time: May 27, 2011 22:01

Despite what some Serbian politicians may expect, the EU will not welcome Serbia to join the union after the arrest of Ratko Mladic, believes Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Taking into consideration the current economic and financial problems of many countries within the EU, I have certain doubts about whether the European Union will be capable and interested in adding one more transitional economy as a member state. I believe that Serbia will be somehow disappointed in the near future by receiving other explanations as to why the country can’t join the EU immediately,” he said, explaining his reasoning to RT.

For Russia the main interest in the case is to ensure a fair trial for the former Bosnian Serb general, who is accused of numerous war crimes, the official said. So far, the conviction record for the Hague Tribunal (ICTY) on former Yugoslavia leaves doubts about the integrity of this body, he added.

“Up to 80% of the [ICTY rulings] are about Serbs and only 20% are about all other nations involved in the previous conflicts together. I believe that in recent years the Tribunal started acting [with one goal] to justify the previous intervention of NATO forces in the conflicts,” Kosachev said.

John Laughland from the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation in Paris says there is no doubt that Mladic will be extradited, as well as that there are “absolutely no chances” that he will get a fair trial in The Hague.

“The earlier convictions that have been handed down over Srebrenica – I’m thinking particularly of the conviction of a man called General Krstic in 2001 – specifically says that General Mladic committed genocide and had genocidal intent in July 1995. In other words, General Mladic’s guilt has already been ruled upon by The Hague tribunal,” he told RT.

“And so, if this were a proper tribunal, which it isn’t, General Mladic’s appearance there could be very short,” Laughland continued. “He could simply say: ‘Here’s the way you convicted me in 2001. There is, obviously, no presumption of innocence in this court’ – and the proceedings would have to come to an end. Unfortunately, that’s not what will happen.”

Boris Malagursky, a Serbian-Canadian film director and producer, says people in Serbia are being forced to believe in an EU dream.

“I think that people in Serbia largely don’t even know what the European Union is,” he said. “I think the government is much keener on convincing them that this is good for them, and this is really interesting because something that is good for the people of Serbia should be felt by the people of Serbia automatically. It shouldn’t take such big efforts for the government to convince them that this is the right thing for Serbia. Serbian people are definitely becoming less and less interested in EU membership, and this can be seen by the most recent polls taken. The Serbian government is much more keen on Serbia being a member of EU than the Serbian people [themselves.]”