Over the last years a number of the UN bodies and agencies have de-facto defaced their activities by double standards, bias and frank hypocrisy. Some explain the current situation by the fact that the majority of employees of these structures are the spokesmen for the interests of those who are called «global elites» and supranational bureaucracy. Others talk about the systemic collapse of international structures due to the loss of the balance of interests that earlier was keeping more or less independence of these bodies. The bipolar world has disappeared, but an effective multipolar system has not yet emerged at least at the level of international organizations.
In any case, the disease that struck the international and European supranational structures is evident.
Another incident occurred a few days ago. The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) denied the defence’s motion on provisional release of former military commander of the Bosnian Serb Armed Forces Ratko Mladic in order to undergo medical treatment in Russia.
The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a body of the United Nations established to prosecute serious crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars, and to try their perpetrators. The tribunal is an ad hoc court which is located in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Court was established by Resolution 827 of the United Nations Security Council, which was passed on 25 May 1993. It has jurisdiction over four clusters of crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991: grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
Mladic’s condition causes serious concern. Recommendations by doctors from the Bakulev Research Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery (The Russian Federation), who examined Mladic in 2015 at the place of his detention, were not taken into consideration by the ICTY. The claims by Mladic’s defence about his health significantly deteriorating recently were also ignored.
In these circumstances and based on the principles of humanity, the Russian Federation responded to Mladic’s appeal and announced that it was ready to accept the general for temporary medical treatment, and provided the ICTY with all guarantees of his timely return to the Tribunal’s location as well as guarantees of fulfilment of any other terms that may be stipulated by the ICTY Trial Chamber.
The refusal to transfer the Serbian defendant for medical treatment is quite telling for the administration of justice in The Hague. Previously, the ICTY granted temporary release even on less substantial grounds. Therefore, the Tribunal’s ruling and argumentation is nothing but perplexing.
It is seriously disturbing that the ICTY Trial Chamber, in its conclusion that Mladic’s medical supervision is allegedly adequate and his condition has an age-related nature, relied on the opinion of the medical staff at the ICTY penitentiary institution as well as the opinion of “independent medical specialists”, although the reputation of the prison in Scheveningen after several deaths in unclear circumstances has long been compromised.
Over the entire term of the ICTY and under its jurisdiction, a total of 18 people have died, including 16 ethnic Serbs.
The Tribunal indicted 161 individuals between 1997 and 2004; as of October 2016, it has completed proceedings with regard to 154 of them. 94 of these are Serbs, 29 are Croats, 9 are Albanians, 9 are Bosniaks, 2 are Macedonians and 2 are Montenegrins. The others are of unknown ethnicity or their charges have been withdrawn.
Previously, there were many concerns about the one-sided nature of ICTY’s activities, which have a strongly anti-Serb orientation.
This number of deaths is a record-breaking figure for international tribunals, and the court’s refusal to consider the defence lawyers’ claims on life-threatening conditions, as it happened in the case of former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic, who was refused medical treatment in Russia by ICTY in 2006, weeks before his death.