Thursday, 3 December 2009

Serbia Must Cooperate With ICC To Accelerate EU Integration

In a draft report to be submitted to the UN Security Council this week, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Serge Brammetz has stated: "The Office of the Prosecutor is satisfied with the current level of efforts undertaken by Serbia's authorities in their cooperation," but "insists that Serbia maintain these efforts" in order to continue to progress the Serbian application process to the EU.

Basically the arrest and surrender of the final suspected war criminals from the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia remains a major stumbling block on Serbia's full integration into the international community.

From what I can glean there are only two major suspects still in hiding - including Ratko Mladic, the most wanted man on the Hague Tribunal's list.

The Netherlands placed an objection to continuing the process, but while cross-border travel will be allowed from 19 December a free trade agreement will not be put in place until the conditions are met.

The story is of interest because the issue is one of several which marks the accession of Catherine Ashton as the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs. In her first session answering MEPs today she was criticised for being too 'weak' and 'vague'.

Meanwhile the outgoing Javier Solana asserted his belief that it is becoming impossible to have divergent foreign policy aims among the (currently) 27 member states of the EU.

Now I think there is almost universal agreement that Serbia cannot continue to thumb its' nose at the principles of law and order represented by the international community by harbouring fugitives of the stature of Mladic.

But on the other hand I'd argue that less people are convinced of the desirability of the normative effects involved in greater political integration.

In the difference between these two cases I think it is clear to see that many people might agree that there are basic universal standards which must be upheld in all circumstances, but at the same time it is also obvious that very few people are likely to agree on the precise nature of those standards.

For my own part I see the existence of a common forum where the specifics can be hammered out as a necessary instrument - for where we agree to disagree, the least that can be described as civilised behaviour is to agree to continue discussions in an ongoing manner until we reach agreement.


Integrate Or Die!

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