Vojislav Kostunica appeared on national television in Serbia shortly before midnight tonight. The full text of his address was as follows:

I address you in a very difficult, almost fateful moment for our country. Along with the many problems we face and which we inherited from the previous regime and those connected with that regime which kept us in isolation for a number of years, and our time under bombs, we now face a problem which has been unnecessarily and carelessly created here.

The extradition tonight to The Hague of the former Yugoslav president, and the earlier extradition of Milomir Stakic, cannot be regarded as legal or constitutional. The Federal Constitutional Court brought a temporary order suspending the decree on cooperation with the Hague Tribunal pending a final ruling on the constitutionality of the document and, if there were elementary respect for legal procedures, that measure should have been respected. This can be interpreted as seriously jeopardising the constitutional order of our country. The legal state which was the policy not only of the Democratic Party of Serbia but of the whole of DOS, cannot be built on injustice.

Now the most undemocratic elements of Milosevic’s own policy, which was really pestilential for the state and the people, have been used here: lawlessness and careless, humiliating steps which have not even been asked for directly by anybody from the international community. Cooperation with The Hague, which was of course necessary, has come down to the mere extradition of the accused without any protection for the citizens and, in the end, without any protection for the interests of the state itself. Even basic procedures were not respected, as though somebody here, rather than somebody abroad, was in a hurry to meet, as soon as possible, an obligation undertaken who knows when and who knows to whom.

Everything has been tried, everything has been proposed – under federal legislation, under federal or republic legislation, under republic legislation alone, then by decree of the federal government – to regulate the difficult matter of our cooperation with The Hague. I will not mention the fact that regardless of the many demands I, and not only I have made, the opportunity for those of our citizens who brought evil on us most of all, to be prosecuted within the country.

All of this, however, pales before the most direct offence on the law and all attempts to regulate cooperation legally, in order to protect our citizens, has been rendered completely pointless. Even worse, an attack has been made on the rule of justice, as well as on the federation. The Socialist People’s Party, unfortunately, has contributed to that through its unwillingness to cooperate.

We cannot go forward on this path into the future, Europe or the world. Without a prosperous and dignified state which offers legal and every other kind of security to its citizens we will not go much further. Yugoslavia and Serbia deserve better.

Now we must face, without hesitation and with cool heads, the consequences of these moves and prevent the worst moves to seriously jeopardise the state and the citizens and the peace which has already been badly shaken in our region.

I shall do everything within my power to prevent the worst and preserve the unity of the state and the interests of the citizens and to ensure that all the positive achievements so far in cooperation with the international community are continued on a healthy basis in international law.

Quelle: Radio B92


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