News 08 Jun 12

Brammertz Says Progress Still Required

Hague Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor says cooperation with the countries of former Yugoslavia meets expectations, but issues remain unresolved with Bosnia and Serbia.

Marija Ristic

Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in his bi-annual report to the UN Security Council on Thursday, praised the cooperation between the Tribunal and the countries in the region.

However, he said that Serbia still needs to discover who the accomplices of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic were, while Bosnia still needs to prosecute nine additional cases given by the ICTY.

“First, we are concerned over Serbia’s lack of information regarding the people who helped fugitives Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic to hide for so long… So far, we have received little evidence of the Serbian authorities’ action on this matter. Also, we want to know whether someone from the state institutions was helping them,” Brammertz said.   

“Second, nine out of 13 cases that were transferred to Bosnian courts to be processed are still pending, and little progress has been made since 2008, when the cases were handed over,” he added.

Brammertz also noted a lack of serious implementation of the National War Crime Strategy, especially in Bosnia, and expressed fears that the institution will fail this assignment.

Stressing the need for cooperation between all national prosecutions, he added that he had not received any reasonable explanations why the proposed war crime prosecution protocol between Serbia and Bosnia has not being signed yet, six months after being agreed.

Brammertz also commented on the statement made by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, in which he denied that genocide happened in Srebrenica, warning that this kind of comment is unacceptable.

 “Such rhetoric is moving Serbia and the region backwards and irritates and offends the victims and their families,” Brammertz said.

Theodor Meron, President of the ICTY, said that all trials – except those of Mladic, Karadzic and Hadic - should be completed by December 2012.

The trial of former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic is scheduled to start in October 2012, while it is expected that the cases against Mladic and Karadzic will be finished by December 2014.

Meron also said that the verdict on the Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj will be pronounced by March 2013.

He pointed out that despite Seselj’s complaints about the quality of the health care he is getting in the ICTY prison, “the defendant is receiving the highest standards of medical care in The Netherlands.”


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