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Letter Of The Socialist Party Of Serbia To FRY President Dr. Vojislav Kostunica On The Occasion Of Mass National Rally

[Note from Emperor's Clothes: the following has been translated from the original Serbo-Croatian. In translating quotations, as we have done here with those of Mr. Kostunica, it is always possible unintentionally to alter tha shade of meaning; we have done our best to make this translation accurate.]

Belgrade

June 26, 2001

Mr. President,

We are inviting you to attend today's national rally in Republic Square at 6:00 PM, together with numerous citizens from Belgrade and Serbia who will express their strong opposition and outrage against the planned extraditions of our citizens to the Hague Tribunal; on the basis of a decree that directly violates both the constitution of Serbia and of the FRY.

We invite you to explain to the citizens how it is that you are allowing this disgraceful order in light of your electoral promises to protect and enforce Serbian and Yugoslav laws.

The decree allowing the extradition of our citizens is a direct assault on Yugoslavia, its constitution, and its laws, which as president, you took an oath to defend. Until recently, you had spoken out for the respect of legal principles, stating:

"I have given my services to the citizens of this state in support of a democratic and responsible state, all principles in my pre-election program are based on sound legal principles. National institutions will lay the groundwork for the legal safety of all citizens and a normal life."

Allowing this decree to be passed by administrative fiat without the approval of the Federal Assembly means taking a serious step towards destroying the Yugoslav State. How is it that you can allow this when until recently you claimed:

"Yugoslavia is our common interest; we must be patient and careful in building it. We must not allow selfish reasons and narrow interests to destroy it."

You as president of FRY are pledged to consider the national interest above all else.... As you have said:

"Our most pressing problems are the social and economic misfortune in which we live. [We must deal with the] Vojvodina issue, regarding her state and legal status. Our biggest obligation is to take care to maintain our territorial integrity. As president I consider no issues more important; let nobody not even those in DOS open up second questions."

It is more than obvious that today you consider the Hague Tribunal a more pressing issue, even greater than the economy and the deteriorating standard of life of our citizens. This stance [that you have taken] will greatly exacerbate separatist issues [such as those involved in Vojvodina]. Questions about South Serbia and Kosovo will be made even more difficult.

You as the legally elected president of the FRY are obliged by the constitution of the FRY to think about these matters. You say: "No international-legal instrument can regulate or override our constitution." According to your words, the Hague Tribunal was, "formed in an ad hoc fashion and constitutes more of a political institution than a legal one." How is it then that you, as a legalist, can cooperate with a court that was not even formed in accord with international laws and statutes? Moreover, the way the Hague Tribunal operates, using sealed indictments and combining Anglo-Saxon and continental laws in unusual ways, thus making it impossible to have normal transparent legal processes.

All things being equal, the idea of a court for trying war crimes committed on ex-Yugoslav soil since 1991 would be a good thing. Such a court would let us openly view indictments so that they can be evaluated based on their legal merit without bias. But that does not describe the Hague Tribunal.

Now your cabinet has issued a decree on extraditions. As you have stated:

"The constitution of the FRY prohibits delivering Yugoslav citizens to any foreign court. Extraditions deprive everyone of a legal foundation. While the constitution provides for the ratification of international agreements, no agreement can be made [concerning extraditions]..."

[A strong] Yugoslavia is necessary for peace and stability. Have you forgotten that Yugoslavia can "hastily improve herself through democracy and not by false radical moves"? Approving this decree regarding The Hague calls into question democracy in our country. Does there exist any legal, essential national, or other important issue for which it is worth violating all of one's principles, pre-election pledges, the voters' trust, and one's constitutional duties towards the citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?

Nobody has proclaimed the principles of justice, the virtues of our nation and its democracy more than you. Come to the national rally today and prove that you really mean what you have said.

Signed,

SPS leader in the Federal Assembly - Dmitar Segrt

General Secretary of the SPS - Zoran Andelkovic

SPS leader in the Serbian Parliament - Branislav Ivkovic

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