“President does not understand what reconciliation means”

b92President Tomislav Nikolić used the word reconciliation several times in his speech at a UN debate but each time he was wrong, says Nataša Kandić.

The Humanitarian Law Center director told B92 that there was a perception that the Hague Tribunal should confirm that crimes against Serbs had been committed in order for the Serbian side to admit to crimes.

“Equalizing responsibility in a war is not reconciliation,” she stressed.

Kandić said that verdicts to Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač, who were acquitted, were the same as in the case of former Yugoslav Army Chief of the General Staff General Momčilo Perišić.

“Over the course of the years, I have realized that a precondition of everything in the case of the former Yugoslavia is to name the victims but also policemen and members of other formations in order to know the exact number of losses, a number that is based on names. Once we get that, a number of about 130,000 people, then we can see a picture about what happened. Then we need to look at the verdicts like that as well,” she said.

Kandić added that she did not have any objections to the Hague Tribunal’s findings.

“This is about forensic truth, data, this crime happened in this town. I have objections because standards were changed in the Gotovina and Perišić cases,” she added.

Kandić noted that we witnessed “uncoordinated” policies on Wednesday.

“You saw yesterday, we have Deputy PM Vučić who had difficult meetings and everything he said showed great concern and readiness to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia. We have him who is a politician in a horrible situation and on the other hand we have a speech in the UN that cannot bring anything good to Serbia,” she said.

Kandić believes that the Hague Tribunal had made a mistake when it promised to “contribute to reconciliation”.

“It was not its job, they can help but cannot lead to it. Whenever an acquittal happens, there is a perception in the public that there is no crime,” she said.

She also believes that Nikolić’s speech did not take facts into account.

The Serbian president criticized the work of the Hague Tribunal at the UNGA debate on the international criminal courts on Wednesday.

Commenting on the eighth round of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, she said that “everything looked honest and determined to reach normalization”.

“Several days ahead of the last meeting, there had been so many instigators not to sign the agreement. It had been evident how many negative things there were and how the delegation had been pressured. I was amazed by many people who called for the agreement not to be signed,” Kandić added.

“But I think that the important thing is to have stronger support to reach normalization. We need to remember how Serbs from Croatia left the country… This is in the interest of those people (who live in Kosovo),” she concluded.