Serbia's government complained Friday that the U.N. war crimes tribunal is biased against Serbs, although it said it won't comment on the genocide conviction against wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
The government said in a statement that the work of the war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia has left a "bitter taste because orchestrators of the policies of crimes against Serbs have been punished in almost no way."
"The justice that punishes members of one nation for the crimes that everybody committed is in fact selective," the Serbian government said. "Each crime should be punished as well as each individual who took part in it."
Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday for orchestrating atrocities against Muslims and Croats in Bosnia during the 1992-95 war, including the massacre of some 8,000 people in Srebrenica — Europe's worst carnage since World War II.
The former leader, who was arrested in Serbia in 2008 after more than a decade in hiding, is the highest Bosnian Serb official sentenced by the Netherlands-based court. The verdict has been hailed as bringing some justice for the victims more than 20 years after the war that left some 100,000 people dead.
The Serbian government said in the statement read out by the justice minister that the verdict against Karadzic must not be "politicized." It said "putting the blame on an entire people for the crimes committed by individuals is inadmissible."
"We will not allow anyone to use the verdict against the former president of Republika Srpska to point their fingers at us," the statement said.
Republika Srpska is the name of the Serb mini-state in Bosnia that was created by the 1995 peace agreement that ended the fighting.