Why international law doesn’t apply to Serbia?

Double standards are a staple in the policy of superpowers that have global goals and they do not hesitate to violate legal norms when it suits their interests.

The superpowers use international public law to fit their interests. If the letter of the law, which should bind all countries of the world, is not in their favour, they are ready to trample it in the name of greater goals. The last to make a statement referring to international law is the high representative of the European Union, Josep Borrell, who wrote in his op-ed for Politika daily that international law must be applied everywhere so that everyone is protected from power politics, blackmail and military attacks. On the occasion of the anniversary of the war in Ukraine, Borrell also pointed out that that war is not “just a European issue”, nor a question “of the West versus all others, but that it rather pertains to the kind of world in which we want to live in”.

He underlined that no one is safe in a world where the illegal use of force by nuclear power and a permanent member of the Security Council would be normalized. “Russia violates the UN Charter every day, creating a dangerous precedent for the whole world with its imperialist policy. Russia kills innocent Ukrainian women, men and children every day, throwing missiles on cities and civil infrastructure,” Borrell wrote, among other things. It is not known whether and in what way Josep Borrell condemned the NATO aggression against the sovereign Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 when innocents were also killed, albeit Serbian women, men and children, and civil infrastructure was destroyed.

Former Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Živadin Jovanović, notes that the West is behaving in accordance with its geopolitical goals. He states for Politika daily that, more than once, the USA has said that where international law stands in the way of achieving their goals, it must be removed. “It is known that great powers turn to the UN Security Council as the first body for peace and security only when it suits their interests. But they oppose the activation of UN mechanisms when it suits the opposite side. This is more than evident in this time of turbulent changes. Double standards are a staple in the policies of superpowers that have global goals and they do not shy away from violating international law”, says Živadin Jovanović.

On the other side of the spectrum are small countries, like Serbia, which make up the majority of humanity, and they advocate respect for international law, which is logical and necessary, Jovanović points out and adds that they have no better support that would protect them against the interference of great powers than international law. “What Borrell said does not surprise me, because the West has been thinking and operating like that for more than half a century. International law has relative importance and sometimes does not solve problems, but small and medium-sized countries have no alternative but to refer to its principles. It would be best for Serbia to invoke and protect its interests by relying on the UN charter”, says Živadin Jovanović.

Diplomat and journalist Dragan Bisenić points out that Kosovo and Ukraine have become like communicating vessels, one of which is currently “standing on its head”. He states that the Kosovo issue was caught in the crosshairs of two approaches. “One approach tries to legitimize it as a ‘special case’ in international relations, from the use of force in 1999 by NATO to exclude it from Serbia’s jurisdiction, until the unilateral declaration of independence and the recognition of the states that followed it is achieved. Others see it as a precedent to justify not only their military actions in Ukraine, but also as a future model in international relations. It is believed, for example, that the Kosovo case can influence the fate of Ukraine, just as it is believed that the outcome of the Ukrainian conflict can also determine the future of Kosovo,” says Bisenić.

He adds that while on the one hand, the countries that are members of the UN General Assembly, i.e. essential patrons of Kosovo’s secession, defend international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, on the other hand, those same countries exclude the very same principles from consideration towards Serbia.

By Dejan Spalović

(Politika, 25-02.2023)


Image by Dragan Stojanović

This post is also available in: Italiano

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