A blizzard of platitudes has been unleashed by Europe's leaders this week as Serbia formally applies for EU membership. No opportunity to declare the occasion "historic" or to assert that Serbia has a European "vocation" is being passed up. Yet once these asinine buzzwords have been uttered, there will be no reason to rejoice. Belgrade's treatment by some EU governments has long been characterised by a brazen hypocrisy. Until the beginning of this month, the Netherlands was blocking Serbia's efforts to strengthen its relations with the union over suspicions it was not co-operating fully with the war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

The zeal of Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch foreign minister, in insisting on accountability for offences against humanity would be praiseworthy if it was consistent with his approach to other conflicts. How odd it is, then, that Verhagen has vigorously opposed efforts to probe (never mind prosecute) alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza. With just two of the men on its wanted list – Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic – still at large, isn't it time that the Hague tribunal was given a fresh mandate, or even better that an entirely new investigative body is set up? This body should be tasked with finally unearthing the truth about why Nato bombed Serbia in 1999. Read full article in the Guardian...