War Crimes Tribunal Is Outside Vatican´s Mission

Holy See Didn´t Vote for Judges

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NEW YORK, MAR. 16, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican aide clarified that the Holy See did not vote for the judges of the international tribunal investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican´s permanent observer at the United Nations in New York, clarified the position this week. The U.N. General Assembly chose 14 judges on Wednesday, each one from a different country, to compose the tribunal. Thirteen men and one woman were chosen, but their function was challenged by Russia, which regards the tribunal as hostile to Serbia, and considers that its work should be entrusted to the new Balkan states.

The tribunal was created in 1991 to prosecute individuals responsible for atrocities, massacres, violations, expulsions and bombing of civilians in Bosnia and Croatia during the armed conflict.

Archbishop Martino said that while the “Holy See regards the tribunal as an instrument of the international community to express its condemnation of violations of international humanitarian law,” the election of individual judges is a matter that is not part of the mission of the Apostolic See at the United Nations. He said the Vatican has made the same decision in similar situations in the past.

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