Sommaruga: FRY was largely responsible for the 1998/99 situation in Kosovo

sommaruga111111Dr. Cornelio Sommaruga, the former President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and previous Ambassador of Switzerland, says to the Albanian news agency Presheva Jone that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was largely responsible for the humanitarian situation during the war in Kosovo.

GENEVA, 11 December, 2014 – Dr. Sommaruga expressed the view to Presheva Jone that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should have measures to prevent the displacement of ethnic Albanians stating “the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) was largely responsible for the 1998/99 situation in Kosovo.”

The former ICRC President also said one should “not neglect the guerilla fighting of the Kosovar-armed opposition” due to the fighting that took place between the Yugoslav Army and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) underlining that the regime in Belgrade should have done more to “avoid the direct attacks against civilians and pushing Kosovo population to flee to the mountains and forests and even to leave the country.”

His comments came in the wake of a seminar on the future of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine held at the United Nations (UN) office in Geneva gathering speakers from diplomatic missions of the United States of America (USA), Australia, Hungary, Rwanda, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Council of Europe (COE).

Furthermore, in his remarks to the panelists, Dr. Sommaruga highlighted that the United Nations Security Council remains today the appropriate organ to assess the gravity of human rights violations committed by states against their own citizens referring to “large scale of loss of life” and “large scale of ethnic cleansing.”

The primarily responsibility to protect citizens from grave breaches of human rights violations, including the violation of peremptory norms considered as jus cogens, rests on sovereign states according to the former ICRC President.

“The responsibility of a sovereign state is also and foremost to protect its people (its national citizens) from killing and other grave harm.

“It is the most basic and fundamental of all responsibilities that sovereignty imposes to the governance.

“If a state cannot or will not protect its people from such harm, then coercive intervention for human protection purposes, including ultimately military intervention, by others in the international community, may be warranted in extreme cases.”

The principle of territorial integrity must not be used to justify human rights violations

The principle of territorial integrity is a central element of statehood of a sovereign state. International law recognizes that a sovereign state is sovereign in a given territory and has the responsibility for the ultimate protection from outside interventions into its domestic affairs.

However, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states must not be used to justify human rights violations on citizens.

Dr. Sommaruga cited the “inadequate response to genocide in Rwanda” and “the non prevention of the murderous ethnic cleansing in Srebrenica” as relevant examples of human rights violations.

In 2005, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Responsibility to Protect doctrine which enunciates the responsibility of states to offer human security to its citizens, but also encouraging the international community to help states to exercise their responsibilities towards their own citizens.

The former President of the United Nations General Assembly and previous Foreign Minister of Nicaragua, Dr. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, warned in 2005 that the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine must not be used to implement secret agendas such as overthrowing regimes, using double standards to justify an intervention and violate the sovereignty of a country.

Dr. Sommaruga echoes this view and believes that the six criteria outlined by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty in 2000, established by the Government of Canada, should be applied to justify an intervention including the “right authority, just cause, right intention, last resort, proportionality and reasonable prospects.” /Blerim Mustafa

Photo Credit: Morhof 2 Blogspot

* This article was written by the author in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the view of Leidar

Link to original article (Presheva Jone, also available below): http://www.preshevajone.com/sommaruga-fry-was-largely-responsible-for-the-199899-situation-in-kosovo/

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