AMB. SHATTUCK SPEECH IN PRAGUE ON RULE OF LAW, NATO STRIKES, 30 March 1999


(Serb attacks on Kosovars are part of premeditated plan)

Prague, March 30 -- Serb and Yugoslav attacks on the civilian population
of Kosovo clearly are part of a premeditated plan and not just a response
to NATO airstrikes, says U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic John
Shattuck.

Shattuck discussed the Kosovo situation and the wider issue of rule of
law in a March 30 speech to Charles University law students.
Describing the atrocities being committed against the Kosovar
Albanians, he said the Serbians are engaged in "wholesale terrorism of
a civilian population."

"The scale and coordination of these atrocities testify to the fact
that they are not an improvised reaction to NATO's air attacks,"
Shattuck said. "They are clearly the result of a larger plan, and the
blame for them must be laid squarely at the feet of [Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia] President Milosevic and the senior military officers he
commands."

Emphasizing a point made by other U.S. and NATO officials, Shattuck
said NATO's quarrel is not with the Serbian people, but with
Milosevic, who "has diminished the standing of the Serbia in the
world."

He noted that the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia "extends to acts committed in Kosovo. Anyone
who commits, authorizes or condones actions adjudged as war crimes is
subject to indictment. With the support of the international
community, the Tribunal will enforce the rule of law, and the guilty
will be held accountable for their crimes."

The ambassador also discussed the importance of the rule of law in
building a society, and outlined a lengthy agenda of judicial reform
needed in the Czech Republic: streamline overly complex judicial
procedures, improve judicial training and the standards for judicial
qualification, fill 400 empty judicial positions, and change
procedural code to bring the country into compliance with
international standards.

He also underlined the importance of the rule of law in the economic
sphere -- to bring transparency to decisionmaking and consistency to
the application of regulations, and to eliminate corruption and
cronyism. "World Bank studies show decisively that the high
transaction costs associated with corruption often act as a drag on
economic growth, and lack of transparency is the evil at the very
heart of the recent Asian economic and monetary crisis," Shattuck
said.

Following is the text of Shattuck's prepared remarks:

(begin text)

DEMOCRACIES AND THE RULE OF LAW
Remarks by John Shattuck
U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic

Charles University Law School
Prague - March 30, 1999

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Dean Hendrych, for that very kind introduction. My Czech is
slowly improving to the point where I think I understand enough of the
spoken language to pose a real danger to myself. To avoid any danger
to you, I hope you will allow me to speak to you in English -- a
language that seems increasingly to be a second tongue to many of the
Czechs I meet, and I assume to a good number of you as well.

It is a pleasure to be back in the law faculty of a major university.
As you may have heard, I have spent many hours both out there on the
benches, furiously taking notes, and up here at the podium, recycling
the knowledge I obtained. So I feel very much at home.

I have now been the American Ambassador in the Czech Republic for four
months. My arrival here in December was memorable, but it was not my
first visit to Prague. I first came here in 1988, as a representative
of Amnesty International, to meet clandestinely with a dissident
contact to gather information about the prison conditions of Charter
77 members. As you well know, those were bleak days, and I left
Czechoslovakia pessimistic about the prospects for any improvement.

And then, to paraphrase a well-known Czech playwright, things happened
so quickly that I scarcely had the time to be astonished. Less than
two years after my visit, the dissident contact with whom I had met --
Rita Klimova -- arrived in Washington as the new Ambassador of a truly
independent and democratic Czechoslovak Federation. Many of the
Charter 77 signatories whose fate had seemed so precarious a year
earlier were now in the parliament or in government, including most
notably Vaclav Havel, whom I'd tried (and failed) to visit in prison
in 1988.

Today, almost ten years later, it is difficult not to reflect on these
momentous changes. You must never take them for granted, because you
have traveled a very long road and achieved a staggering amount of
progress. Your constitution now guarantees you rights that were
nothing more than a daydream less than a decade ago. You can publish
without restriction, speak freely, and travel at will. More than
55,000 Czech citizens visited the United States last year, to study,
to conduct business, or just to take a vacation. The numbers have been
growing steadily, and of course the volume of traffic into and out of
neighboring countries is even greater.

>From a history stolen from you by repression, you have laid the
foundations of a society in which citizens are active participants in
a democracy. A society which is built on the principle of respect for
fundamental human rights at all levels, from the parliament, to the
police station, to the hospoda. A society in which elections represent
the will of the people. A society that is prepared to examine the dark
periods in its own history in an effort to ensure fair compensation
for injustices that have been suffered.

At the same time, it is clear that this remarkable transition will not
be completed as quickly as we had all initially hoped. In particular,
your country is experiencing an economic recession resulting from the
unfinished steps in the economic transformation. This is not evidence
of failure; it is a very natural state of affairs. Someone once
likened the "experiment" of totalitarian communism to a long detour
off the road of history down a blind alley. Through hard work over the
past decade, you have now returned to where you were when you were
forced to begin that detour. But, not surprisingly, the road ahead
looks somewhat unfamiliar after forty years. The experience of
replacing a totalitarian regime with democratic institutions and a
market economy, virtually overnight, has no precedent. It is
understandable that there have been many false starts, and much
unfinished business to be done. All this takes time, and patience, and
hard work.

As you travel this still-unfamiliar path, there are some universal
concepts that have helped you make the progress you have already
achieved. Today, before the law faculty of this great European
university, I would like to focus on one concept to which I have
devoted much of my professional life, and which will be at the very
heart of the legal careers you have chosen to pursue. The concept can
be stated very simply: Respect for the Rule of Law.

I recognize that this is an almost impossibly broad topic. The rule of
law encompasses all elements of an open, transparent, democratic
system, both within a country's own institutions, as well as in its
relationships with other countries and international bodies. Rule of
law takes many shapes in a civil society, including the strengthening
of economic structures, the safeguarding of human rights and the
protection of national minorities. I would like to spend my time with
you this afternoon reviewing the rule of law as our greatest source of
stability and justice, as we enter the 21st century, both
internationally and domestically.

On the international level, respect for the rule of law is the sine
qua non of peaceful relations among nations. It encompasses the
honoring of international commitments and it encourages consistency,
fairness and transparency of transactions. Respect for rule of law has
been the only guarantor of peace in our war-torn century, a century
historians have already judged to be the bloodiest in human history.
It may seem ironic to make that statement today, as we witness the war
crimes and crimes against humanity being committed in Kosovo -- the
greatest humanitarian tragedy in Europe since the end of the Second
World War. So it is worth recalling what is at stake there, and why I
believe that the current efforts of NATO are firmly grounded and
justified to avert an even greater catastrophe.

We must start from the point that the NATO action is not directed
against the Serbian people, many of whom suffer under their own
government from oppression, control of information and other
totalitarian practices that many Czechs will sadly recall from their
own experience under Communist rule. No, the NATO action is directed
solely against the armed forces of Slobodan Milosevic, who for more
than a year have terrorized the people of Kosovo, and it is the
reluctant last step after many months of exhausting and exhaustive
diplomatic efforts. Diplomats from the United States, European Union
nations and Russia have all been engaged for nearly a year in trying
to stop the humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo.

But Milosevic has consistently refused to stop the violence. He has
made many promises, and signed many agreements -- with President
Yeltsin last September, with Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke in
October, and later with NATO itself, pledging to withdraw his forces.
He has systematically broken all these promises and agreements.
Seventeen days of negotiations at Rambouillet, and a later week of
meetings in Paris, with many deadlines extended throughout the
negotiating process, demonstrated that President Milosevic was flatly
unwilling to take any step for peace -- a step that the Kosovar
Albanians, themselves divided and at times ambivalent, in the end had
the courage to take. Even then, a last effort was undertaken by
Ambassador Holbrooke. Only after that final attempt to secure an
agreement had failed, only after Milosevic had repeatedly and
flagrantly violated all the previous agreements he had made, and only
as the Serbian forces began to pour back into Kosovo to escalate the
bloodshed once again -- only then did NATO take the decision to
initiate air strikes against military targets in Serbia.

Let me make a few personal observations at this point, because I have
seen at close hand the brutality, the horror and the human suffering
of Kosovo. Last September, while serving as Assistant Secretary of
State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, I traveled to Kosovo with
the distinguished American Senator Robert Dole. We saw direct evidence
of what was happening long before NATO became involved. While we were
there, civilians were being executed en masse, men were being
separated from their families, houses were being burned from the
inside, villages were being indiscriminately shelled, and hundreds of
thousands of people were being forced from their homes. Let me give
you just one graphic example. Every single house in the town of
Pantina was destroyed by Serb paramilitary "police" who turned on the
gas jets in each, individual home and then left them to explode and
burn upon contact with the candle fire that the citizens of Kosovo
were using as the sole means of light and heat, after the paramilitary
forces had cut off the utilities serving the region. This is not
warfare against a rebel army; this is wholesale terrorism of a
civilian population. Only because of international pressure --
including three successive UN Security Council Resolutions demanding a
cease-fire and a withdrawal of military forces -- and because of
diplomacy backed by the threat of force, President Milosevic seemed
for a while to step back from the brink.

Last month, while peace was being negotiated in Rambouillet, Milosevic
was planning an even greater murderous rampage through Kosovo. Today
we can see the efforts of that campaign: atrocities are mounting,
wanton killings and massacres are being carried out that far outstrip
even those that I witnessed last year. The scale and coordination of
these atrocities testify to the fact that they are not an improvised
reaction to NATO's air attacks. They are clearly the result of a
larger plan, and the blame for them must be laid squarely at the feet
of President Milosevic and the senior military officers he commands.
His attempts to justify or rationalize these criminal actions as some
kind of response to NATO's intervention is simply perverse.

As you are probably aware, the jurisdiction of the International
Criminal Tribunal that was established to investigate and punish those
responsible for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, extends to acts
committed in Kosovo. Anyone who commits, authorizes or condones
actions adjudged as war crimes is subject to indictment. With the
support of the international community, the Tribunal will enforce the
rule of law, and the guilty will be held accountable for their crimes.

The Czech Republic is an important member of the international
community. The day two weeks ago when your country became a NATO
partner was a landmark event in the reintegration of the Czech lands
into European institutions, and an important step for Euro-Atlantic
Security. Now, as NATO allies, we stand together as we face an
immediate challenge to that security. Our alliance has stated three
objectives for the action we have reluctantly undertaken in Kosovo.

-- First, we seek to deter further aggression and repression by
Milosevic's forces in Kosovo and to avert an even more extensive
humanitarian catastrophe. There are now some 40,000 paramilitary
forces in action in and around Kosovo; and nearly half a million
Kosovars -- one quarter of the Kosovo population -- have been forced
from their homes. The Kosovo crisis is creating huge refugee pressures
on neighboring countries. Had NATO not acted now, after exhausting all
diplomatic efforts, we would have faced an even greater crisis later.

-- Second, the credibility of NATO and other international
organizations, including the United Nations, is at risk and must be
protected if the rule of law is to survive. President Milosevic has
violated his own previous agreements and his basic international
obligations. The air strikes against military targets in Serbia are
being taken within the framework of UN Security Council Resolutions.
Last fall, the Council adopted three resolutions that imposed
mandatory obligations on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all of
which have been repeatedly and flagrantly violated. The recent vote of
the UN Security Council made clear that the NATO action enjoys the
support of that body.

-- Third, the actions by Milosevic forces in Kosovo have already
provoked cross-border activity in Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia. Left
unchallenged, these actions could spark a wider conflict that could
bring in other neighboring countries. History tells us it is time to
draw the line. As the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in its
statement of March 26, "the Kosovo crisis is no longer the internal
affair of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The violation of human
rights and the number of victims have acquired the character of an
intolerable humanitarian catastrophe. Inaction would equal
co-responsibility."

Let me made our point especially clear. All NATO members, including
the Czech Republic, have stated many times, that our quarrel is with
Slobodan Milosevic, and not with the people of Serbia. We respect the
history and culture of the Serbs. We have joined together on important
occasions in our history -- notably in the fight against Nazi
aggression in World War Two. And we have supported the desire of the
Serbian people to maintain Kosovo as part of their country. But these
common aims are now jeopardized by the actions of Milosevic, who has
diminished the standing of Serbia in the world. For this reason all of
us can endorse the words of President Havel, who on March 24 called on
President Milosevic "to abandon the course of strengthening his own
power at the expense of the Serbian nation."

NATO solidarity is essential in this effort. As democracies, the
member nations of the alliance must ensure that the reasons for NATO's
action in Kosovo are well understood by their publics. It is no
surprise that public opinion is mixed, that citizens in Prague or Brno
or Ostrava -- or, for that matter, in Pittsburgh, Chicago or Los
Angeles -- are sometimes confused about what they see reported on
their TV screens. But I believe as they learn more about the tragedy
unfolding just a few hundred kilometers south of here, people will
come to understand why NATO has intervened.

I am proud to see how our Czech partners in the military are
shouldering these new responsibilities in NATO. I have witnessed first
hand the professionalism of the Czech battalion serving with the NATO
stabilization force in Bosnia. During my three years of trips to
Bosnia I have often come under the protective hand of that group of
Czech soldiers, and I can tell you honestly that each time I felt very
secure. I would also like to commend the Czech participation in the
OSCE Mission in Kosovo. Taken together with the recent Parliamentary
vote to send a field hospital to Kosovo as part of an eventual
peacekeeping mission, these are all part of your country's deep
commitment to work for the rule of law in Europe.

I know that your country's commitment to uphold the values of an
international rule of law is a reflection of your country's similar
commitment to strengthen rule of law principles here in the Czech
Republic. I know that you are now facing many domestic challenges
involving the rule of law -- such as creating predictability and
transparency in your economy, guaranteeing social justice and
non-discrimination in your society, and creating fair and efficient
institutions in your system of justice. And I know that you are
working hard to meet all these challenges.

As a former practicing lawyer, I have spent some of my time in your
country examining what you have accomplished, and what remains to be
done. A particularly important area seems to be judicial reform. From
my perspective, the most urgent needs are now to streamline the overly
complex judicial procedures; to improve the standards for judicial
qualification and training; to identify judges to fill the 400 empty
positions; to urge consistency in the prosecution of civil and
criminal cases, and to implement essential changes to the procedural
code to bring the Czech Republic into compliance with international
standards.

This sounds, I know, like an impossible amount of work. But don't let
the enormity of these tasks overwhelm you; and remember that you are
not without friends to help. Current Czech efforts at judicial reform
are being supported by the United States, the European Union, and a
variety of non-governmental organizations. The EU targets its PHARE
funds specifically for judicial reform and training, while the
American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative is
undertaking a massive project to establish a regional center in Prague
for consultation and training of lawyers, judges and police.

In the economic sphere, rule of law plays a key role in creating and
maintaining the framework for economic prosperity. The rule of law
facilitates transparency in economic decisionmaking and crafting of
rules for transactions. Clear and consistently applied regulations can
protect consumers and investors, and ensure a stable environment for
all actors in the economy, foreign and domestic alike.

Clear rules in the economic sphere are essential elements of the rule
of law. The world is recognizing that corruption and cronyism have no
place in a thriving economy. World Bank studies show decisively that
the high transaction costs associated with corruption often act as a
drag on economic growth, and lack of transparency is the evil at the
very heart of the recent Asian economic and monetary crisis.

The global struggle against corruption is being waged at many levels.
In Washington recently, Vice President Al Gore hosted an international
conference attended by many nations -- including a delegation from the
Czech government -- which examined the strategies of countries in the
fight against corruption. Here in Prague, your government's Clean
Hands campaign has set an ambitious agenda for targeting these
problems in the Czech Republic. We support the intent of this
initiative wholeheartedly, and look forward to concrete follow-through
to help restore confidence that business and economic decisions are
governed by the rule of law and grounded in good economic sense.

There are, of course, many of the issues on your domestic rule of law
agenda. Critical economic areas that still require rule of law reform
include: banking supervision, securities regulation, extra-judicial
bankruptcy proceedings, and privatization of inefficient, state-owned
companies. In the securities area, the recent establishment in the
Czech Republic of a Securities Exchange Commission is a good
beginning, but more needs to be done to strengthen the authority of
the Commission, and provide it with the necessary independence to do
its job. The government's proposal for out-of-court settlement of
certain real estate disputes is also an important step in accelerating
unduly long judicial consideration of commercial disputes. Changes in
all these areas would go a long way towards establishing a firm
institutional basis in the rule of law for sustainable economic growth
in the future.

Of course, good laws on the books are never enough for a strong
economy. Implementation and enforcement of the laws are equally
important, especially in creating the confidence of the investors.
More confidence means higher levels of economic activity that in turn
generates greater economic and social benefits. Proper economic
regulation and oversight are tied to a fair, well-trained judicial
system with sufficient resources to bring results. The fight against
opaque banking and investment practices, corruption and "tunneling"
must be consistent, open and impartial. Intellectual property rights
of companies must be safeguarded, and regulators and prosecutors need
to guard against partisan enforcement, or selective non-enforcement of
laws and legitimate practices if the Czech Republic is to earn the
confidence of the world's investors, as well as its own citizens.

The Czech Republic has all the pre-requisites for success in Europe:
an open society, engaged, well-educated citizens, and the readiness to
work hard now for a strategic payoff later. To all these natural
advantages we can add the assets of a central location in heart of
Europe, a history as an industrial powerhouse, membership in NATO, and
the prospect of EU accession. Your membership in NATO imposes solemn
responsibilities on the Czech Republic to help enforce the
international rule of law. Your participation in enforcing the peace
in Bosnia and responding to the humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo are
proving that you can meet these responsibilities.

I am honored to have been able to speak to you today about the great
challenges of building a rule of law that we all face together at the
dawn of a new century and a great new chapter in Czech history. As
future lawyers, judges, legislators, and leaders of all kinds, you
will serve in many different capacities in building the rule of law.
You share, however, one common goal--a bright future for yourselves
and your country. The keys to success are hard work, patience and a
realistic appraisal of what must be done. I would like to conclude
with a quote from your President, which captures very well the values
that I believe we all share, and the serious and sober way we should
think about them: "I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that
everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure that
everything ends badly. Instead I am a realist who carries hope, and
hope is the belief that freedom has meaning...and that liberty is
always worth the struggle."

(end text)


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