Europe

    As Yugoslav tribunal closes, a look back at its history
    03.01.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    In his last speech to the UN Security Council on December 6, 2017, ICTY President Carmel Agius expressed satisfaction that out of 161 persons indicted, all have been tried or have died, representing a 100% success rate, although the difficulties were many. This is all the more surprising because the first international criminal tribunal had everything against it. It was created in 1993, in the midst of war in Bosnia- Herzegovina, with no access to the former Yugoslavia, and was pushed by founding fathers who did not even want it to succeed!  The ICTY was proposed to the Security Council by...

    Read more
    How the ICTY has changed our world
    03.01.18
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) closed its doors on December 31, 2017, after working for 24 years, issuing 161 indictments and nearly as many judgments, hearing 4,600 witnesses over 10,800 days of trials, producing millions of pages and costing billions of dollars. Apart from the Second World War, no war has been as studied and certainly none has been the subject of judicial procedures like the one that tore the former Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s.   So the time has come for a first evaluation, and the legacy of the ICTY is clearly considerable. Its...

    Read more
    How the Yugoslav Tribunal Made History, according to HRW
    21.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

    Bullet holes, bloodstains and brain matter marked the walls of an empty barn, a crime scene processed to document the worst crime in Europe since the Second World War: the deliberate killings of more than 7,000 men and boys from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. Journalists and human rights researchers had pieced together the horrifying story based on eyewitness accounts from the few who survived; and then investigators from the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal built a genocide case by collecting evidence from killing sites and exhuming mass graves. At the time war erupted amidst the breakup of...

    Read more
    Was the destruction of Old Mostar Bridge a war crime?
    11.12.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    To what extent does the destruction of an architectural masterpiece constitute a war crime if that masterpiece is also used for military purposes? What, too, if the destruction of such a monument, like the Old Mostar Bridge, causes psychological and physical harm to a civilian population now under siege? How should military objectives, damage to cultural heritage, psychological and physical harm be weighed together? That was the headache posed by the last judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  The ICTY’s last judgment on November 29 will be...

    Read more
     
    Week in Review: ICTY suicide and children’s war drawings question international justice
    01.12.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak’s suicide in court, just as he was being sentenced to 20 years in jail,  puts a tragic final end to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It is with those images, broadcast on the Internet, that the ICTY will close its doors at the end of December. This is the “lowering of the curtain on a courtroom become a crime scene”, writes AFP. The ICTY, set up by the United Nations in 1993, was the first international criminal tribunal after the post-World War II Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. Born during the Balkan...

    Read more
    Justice leaves a bitter taste in the Balkans
    27.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    This December 21, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will close its doors. Never have so many crimes provoked so much investigative work. Never has a war been so documented, examined and analysed by judicial authorities since the Second World War. Now it is time to analyse the record of this first international criminal tribunal, its successes and failures. This is indispensable, if only to learn lessons for the future of international justice.  What is most striking is the huge gap between judicial truth and the way it resonates in the societies most...

    Read more
    Chaos at UN court as Bosnian Croat defendant 'takes poison' and dies
    29.11.17
    AFP

    The UN war crimes court for former Yugoslavia descended into chaos during it last judgement Wednesday when a defendant took poison to protest the upholding of his 20-year jail term. Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak died later in hospital, according to the HINA agency. UN judges were handing down judgement in the appeals case of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders, in the court's final verdict for war crimes committed during the bloody 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia. Seconds after his sentence was upheld, former military commander Slobodan Praljak, 72,...

    Read more
    Croat leaders in last ICTY judgment for crimes in Bosnia
    28.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    Latest UN judges uphold 25-year jail term on Bosnian Croat leader Prlic   On November 29, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is to hand down its last judgment before closing its doors in a few weeks’ time. The six accused were already tried by the lower court in 2013 and given prison sentences of 10 to 25 years for 26 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including persecution, murder, rape and sexual violence, forced displacement and inhuman acts. These six former top leaders of the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia are now...

    Read more
     
    Week in Review: Victory for justice in Bosnia, and stigmatized girls in the DRC
    27.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The life sentence on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was widely hailed as a victory for international law and justice. Mladic was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing of Bosnian towns and the siege Sarajevo, and war crimes for the hostage taking of UN personnel to stop NATO intervention during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina 25 years ago. Only Serb nationalists and Russia criticized this judgment, which comes as the ICTY prepares to close. The 1,800 pages of the...

    Read more
    Herceg-Bosna, bloody separatist bid of Bosnian Croats
    27.11.17
    AFP

    Six leaders of a self-proclaimed statelet for Bosnian Croats, declared during the Balkan country's bloody 1990s conflict, hear a verdict Wednesday from UN judges on their appeal against war crimes convictions. Here are details about their breakaway "republic", which they eventually hoped to merge with neighbouring Croatia: - War breaks out - When war broke out in Bosnia in 1992 as Yugoslavia fell apart, the country's Catholic Croats fought alongside Bosniak Muslims against Orthodox Serbs in the ethnically diverse country. But the nationalist leaders of ethnic Croats, who made up about 17 percent of Bosnia's population of 4.4 million, gradually became more open about their desire to...

    Read more
    Historic judgment on Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic
    23.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Handing down its judgment on November 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was sentenced to life in prison. “The true heroes are the victims and survivors who never gave up on their quest for justice,” said ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz in a statement hailing the judgment. Mladic was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing of Bosnian towns and the siege of Sarajevo, and war...

    Read more
    Yugoslav war crimes court helped end era of impunity
    23.11.17
    AFP

    Born from the fires engulfing the Balkans in the 1990s, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia closes next month having tried and judged dozens of those behind Europe's worst atrocities since World War II. From helping to write the history of the bitter conflict, to putting war criminals around the globe on notice that they too could up in the dock, to setting international jurisprudence for such crimes as genocide, law experts say the tribunal leaves an impressive legacy. It showed it was "possible to bring to justice the high-level figures responsible for the crimes committed in the Balkans conflict", said Diana Goff, an international lawyer and research...

    Read more
     
    Key verdict due on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic
    21.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is preparing to hand down on November 22 its verdict on Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic. Given the ICTY’s previous convictions of his main associates including Radovan Karadzic, a guilty verdict is widely expected.    Whilst a guilty verdict is expected, it will be key to see what sentence the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia imposes. Mladic faces a possible life sentence, but in March 2016 the ICTY unexpectedly sentenced former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic to 40 years...

    Read more
    Ex-Yugoslavia would be worse off without UN Court, says ICTY Prosecutor
    20.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    On November 22, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yougoslavia (ICTY) is to hand down its verdict on Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic. This is the last verdict in a trial court of the Tribunal, which was set up by the United Nations in 1993. The ICTY is due to close its doors on December 31, 2017, after 25 years of investigations and trials, and after convicting 83 individuals for crimes committed during the conflicts in former Yugolsavia. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz talked to JusticeInfo about the legacy of the ICTY, the first international tribunal to be created...

    Read more
    Mladic: Serb crusader charged over siege and slaughter
    19.11.17
    Ana Holdings AFP

    Ratko Mladic, who faces judgement Wednesday for alleged genocide, believed himself a crusading defender of the Serbs but was dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia" for mass slaughter at the hands of his forces. The ruthless commander of Bosnian Serb troops in the 1990s civil war, Mladic came to symbolise a barbaric plan to rid swathes of Bosnian territory of Croats and Muslims and carve out a Serb-only state. Captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run, Europe's most wanted man was by then an ailing shadow of his former stocky self. But the general's defiance appeared undimmed during his trial at The Hague, although he was dogged by ill health, and the 74-year-old remains a hero to many...

    Read more
    Kosovo's 'Rambo', Serbia's arch-antagonist, set to be PM
    07.09.17
    AFP

    A hero at home but considered a war criminal by Belgrade, Ramush Haradinaj is set to become Kosovo's prime minister just a few months after fighting against extradition to Serbia. If parliament approves his appointment as expected, this controversial former insurgent -- nicknamed "Rambo" by his comrades -- will have the job of relaunching crucial negotiations with his Serbian adversaries. The talks to "normalise" relations between Belgrade and Pristina, brokered by the European Union, have come to a standstill in recent months. Haradinaj has opposed the dialogue, calling for Belgrade...

    Read more
     
    Ukraine: Unbearable uncertainty for families of the missing
    28.08.17
    ICRC

    For more than three years, eastern Ukraine has suffered conflict. Amid the world’s many other humanitarian crises, in Syria, or in Yemen for example, it can be easy to forget Ukraine. But the UN estimates that 10,000 people have lost their lives here since 2014. Thousands of families are grieving, and many, like Yuliia and Olha, have been condemned to wait for years to find out exactly what happened to their loved ones. “These are our fathers,” says Yuliia, taking a framed photograph off the shelf. “This one is Olha’s father, Serhii Uzakov, and this one here is my father, Volodymyr Bondarenko.” The two men disappeared almost three years ago. “It was November 27th 2014,” remembers...

    Read more
    “If the ICC fails in Georgia, it will be the same in Afghanistan and Palestine"
    05.07.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Lawyer Nika Jeiranashvili has been based in The Hague for the Open Society for nearly a year monitoring progress of the Georgia case before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In January 2016, ICC judges authorized the opening of an investigation into crimes committed during the lightning Russo-Georgian war of summer 2008. But the Open Society lawyer thinks the ICC lacks a strategy and has not yet realized all the challenges it faces. Nika Jeiranashvili Justice Info: You have criticized the ICC Registry for lack of strategy on Georgia and the fact that the Court still does not have...

    Read more
    Geneva conference on Kosovo: a judicial and a humanitarian approach to find the 1658 missing persons
    03.07.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor

    In contexts of political violence, one of the worst forms of psychological torture is not to know what happened to loved ones. And it gets worse with time. Has that person been taken by the army or an armed group? Have they been assassinated? Will they ever be found alive, or at least their remains, if victim of an extrajudicial killing? “For the past 18 years, every day that goes by is agony for us,” wrote the families of Serb and Kosovar disappeared people in a joint appeal on June 21. Under pressure from them, a UN roundtable was held in Geneva last Thursday and Friday with all the...

    Read more
    Families of 1,658 Kosovo disappeared still searching for their loved ones
    28.06.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    A two-day conference this week in Geneva aims to relaunch the process of identifying 1,658 people who disappeared during the war in Kosovo (1998-1999). On the eve of the conference, families of Serb and Kosovar victims together urged local and international authorities to rise above obstacles and lack of political will. “We the mothers, fathers, spouses, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons and other relatives of the disappeared (…) will not rest until the fate of the last missing person has been clarified,” says the joint appeal signed on June 21 by Serb and Albanian families of people who...

    Read more