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Presidents of UN tribunal, General Assembly deplore Serb premier's assassination

Presidents of UN tribunal, General Assembly deplore Serb premier's assassination

The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) today deplored the assassination on Wednesday of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, whose cooperation led to handing over ex-Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic to the UN court.

"(ICTY) President Judge Theodor Meron expressed his shock and horror at the tragic events in Belgrade, namely the despicable assassination of the Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic," the Tribunal said in a statement issued in The Hague. "Mr. Djindjic's cooperation with the Tribunal brought international justice closer to a region which saw terrible atrocities. His death is a heavy blow to individual accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and to the rule of law."

At the opening of the UN General Assembly meeting today, Assembly President Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic repeated the shock and sadness he expressed yesterday at Mr. Djindjic's assassination. "I feel personally very strongly about this and share the pain caused by this cruel act as Zoran was a friend of mine and a former fellow human rights dissident," he said.

"I have worked with him when we were both dissidents… and lastly when we were both in top government positions (we) endeavoured to work for democratic Central Europe as our contribution to better conditions in Europe and the world," Mr. Kavan said, adding that he perceived this deplorable act as "a challenge to us all and as a reminder that we have to continue to help to consolidate democratic forces throughout the world."