News / USA

US Leads Boycott of Controversial UN Debate

Margaret Besheer
The United States led a boycott Wednesday of a controversial debate in the U.N. General Assembly about the role of international criminal justice in reconciliation. 
 
Some diplomats criticized the debate, saying it was intended to disparage the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and, by association, all other international tribunals.
 
The meeting was the idea of the Vuk Jeremic, president of the U.N. General Assembly. He is a former foreign minister of Serbia, and some diplomats say has his eye on the presidency of his homeland.
 
In a statement, a U.S. spokesperson said American diplomats would not take part in the debate which Washington feels was set up to be “unbalanced" and "inflammatory." 
 
The heads of all the international tribunals skipped the event, as did Canada and Jordan.
 
Jordan’s U.N. ambassador, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein, told reporters he had hoped Jeremic would have shown greater sensitivity in planning the meeting and consulted more with member states about it.
 
“When it became clear to us that there was a distinct agenda to this meeting - a 'flavor' to it - it seemed to me the president of the General Assembly was exploiting his position for a narrower aim, and that was unacceptable to us," he said. 
 
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made only a brief appearance at the session, urging all nations to respect and support international courts. Ban said no one should undermine the courts "for reasons that have more to do with politics than justice." 
 
Jeremic did not directly criticize The Hague Tribunal in his opening remarks, but Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic did, for 40 minutes.
 
“We wonder what kind of impartialities [there are] when there is a systematic atmosphere of 'lynch-mobbing' of everything that is Serbian ... The influential Western media have created an image of a presumed Serbian guilt," he said. 
 
Speakers also included the Bosnian Serb president of Bosnia and Herzegovina Nebojša Radmanović. At a side event, a controversial retired Canadian General, Lewis MacKenzie, was expected to speak. He has previously questioned whether a genocide took place at Srebrenica in 1995 when nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were massacred after Serb forces captured the town.
 
Since it was established in 1993, The Hague Tribunal has indicted 161 people for crimes, 15 of whom have been acquitted. Several dozen suspects remain on trial. 

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid