After having accused the chairman of the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague of being a puppet of the American administration, Judge Frederik Harhoff has been removed from a case against a Serbian party leader who is accused of war crimes, according to a court decision that Information has acquired.
Earlier this summer, Harhoff wrote a letter to the UN court, accusing the tribunal of allowing war criminals from the former Yugoslavia to go free. The accusation was based on court decisions handed down in connection with senior officers involved in the civil war in the Balkans in the 1990s.
Among others, the freed Serbian Chief of General Staff Momcilo Perisic, who was sentenced to 27 years in prison by the court of first instance for war crimes committed between 1993 and 1995 in Sarajevo and Srebrenica.
According to Harhoff, the releases were handed down following pressure from the United States and Israel.
WikiLeaks documents have suggested that the court chairman, Theodor Meron, was close to the US administration in his first period as chairman.
Harhoff’s criticism appears to be the direct reason for him being shelved, according to Information.
Vojislav Seselj, the founder of the Radical Serbian Party who is before the court, has maintained that Frederik Harhoff cannot be impartial given his letter and criticism, and is prejudiced towards penalising Seselj.
A majority of judges who have looked into the issue have found in favour of Seselj.
The judges say in their decision that “In his letter, Judge Harhoff has demonstrated a prejudice in favour of conviction in a way that a reasonable and well-informed observer reasonably would perceive as prejudice”.
Leiden University International Criminal Law Expert Dov Jacobs says that Harhoff is paying the price for saying aloud what many others at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague think.
“Harhoff’s possibilities for continuing at the court amount to zero,” Dov Jacobs tells Information.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood