Critics said the debate, proposed by Vuk Jeremic of Serbia, the current president of the assembly, was aimed at the international criminal court and other international tribunals, Voice of America reported. A U.S. spokesperson issued a statement describing the discussion as set up to be "unbalanced" and "inflammatory."
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appeared to give an implicit endorsement of the critics. He made a brief statement during the debate Wednesday, warning against undermining the international tribunals "for reasons that have more to do with politics than justice."
Tomislav Nikolic, the president of Serbia, made a 40-minute speech in which he accused the international courts of "lynch-mobbing" his country.
"The influential Western media have created an image of a presumed Serbian guilt," he said.
Jeremic spoke of the need to ensure that atrocities are not forgotten or "bizarrely celebrated." But he also said nations have to move on.
"Reconciliation is in its essence about the future, about making sure we do not allow yesterday's tragedies to circumscribe our ability to reach out to each other, and work together for a better, more inclusive tomorrow," Jeremic said.