Skip to main content

Serbia: Human Rights

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration was made of Serbia’s (a) human rights record and (b) record of co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia prior to its assumption of the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. (137091)

The Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers is not an elected position, but organised on an alphabetical rotational basis every six months in May and November. On this basis Serbia became chair at the 117th Council of Europe Ministerial on 11 May.

The Parliamentary Assembly and Committee of Ministers have been monitoring Serbia’s commitment to the Council of Europe core objectives of promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and rule of law, as well as compliance with treaty obligations since Serbia’s accession in 2003. Monitoring will continue throughout Serbia’s chairmanship and will cover co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Serbia’s chairmanship will be scrutinised by both a domestic and international audience. It is in Serbia’s interests to fulfil its obligations as chair to the highest standards. We hope that its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers will provide impetus for Serbia to demonstrate its commitment to the Council of Europe core objectives as well as other international obligations, in particular full co-operation with the ICTY.

The United Kingdom is a strong supporter of the ICTY and regularly makes clear to countries of the region their obligation to co-operate fully with the tribunal as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1534. In February, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe delivered this message in Belgrade to the President and Prime Minister of Serbia.