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INDIA ON Thursday described the recent extradition of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague to stand trial as an "abduction", making it clear that it disapproves strongly of the action of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told the Rajya Sabha during question hour, "How can we approve that the citizen of one country (Milosevic) be abducted and taken to trial in a third country?" This was the strongest condemnation of the ICTY and, by implication, of the western countries by India ever since the fall of Milosevic. The unprecedented harsh words came when the minister was explaining why India had continued to abstain from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
A strong case for India's reconsideration of its stand on the ICC was made, one after another, by Ram Jethmalani, Fali S Nariman and Kapil Sibal, obliging Singh to state that the government would "readdress" itself to the question and would even welcome a discussion in the House.
Explaining why New Delhi had continued to be cold to the concept of the ICC, Singh said that while the court would try "international crimes", there was no global unanimity yet on what constituted such crimes. There was not even unanimity over what constituted human rights; it were civilisational and cultural divides that gave rise to various interpretations of such subjects.
Claiming that the MEA had seriously thought about the ICC, he said it remained of the view that in its present form, the court would encroach on the rights of sovereign states.
(c) Hindustan Times 2001 Reprinted for Fair Use Only
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