IWPR has been providing unique and continuous reporting and analysis of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia since 1995. Our project aims to improve local understanding of the process and to strengthen regional support for war crimes proceedings. This is achieved through the provision of information of the war crimes process and local journalism training and outreach.
In the former Yugoslavia, the ravages of war mean that the news media, while not short of enthusiasm, lacks the resources to allow systematic coverage of the affairs of the tribunal. IWPR aims to fill that gap.
IWPR supports the aims of the tribunal, hoping that it will in time foster reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia, provide an alternative to the cycle of revenge, and ultimately deter future warlords from committing atrocities in future wars. We also believe that debate on the court among the people who are most affected is best served by giving the region's journalists the support necessary to provide informed reporting and analysis.
Wartime Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic was arrested in July 2008 after 13 years on the run and transferred to The Hague shortly afterwards. Since then, IWPR has been producing comprehensive analysis and reports on his case as part of its long standing International Justice/ICTY programme.
Reporting The Hague
IWPR's tribunal project is split into two parts. The first provides news coverage of war crimes affairs, which are provided in English and in local languages. Each week a package of coverage is provided in IWPR's unique Tribunal Update.
Tribunal Update contains court reports from the trials in progress, which average about half a dozen per week. These reports are also put into the IWPR archive, allowing free access for anyone to a complete record of the proceedings of each war crimes case from first indictment onwards to conclusion. No other news organisation offers such a comprehensive database.
IWPR also draws on leading journalists in the Balkans to provide local reporting and occasional commentary and analysis of war crimes issues.
These take the form of regional reports submitted each week. Reports cover a whole gamut of issues, from the reactions of local people to war crimes cases, through to the hunt for suspects and the tribunal’s devolution of much of the war crimes process to local courts.
Tribunal Update also carries features and commentary on wider war crimes issues, which have become the subject of international debate.
Finally, we pass a critical eye over the affairs of the court, its successes and occasional setbacks which continue to set international precedents.
IWPR is viewed by many as a leading authority in this field, as it is the only specialist agency to have reported in depth on the tribunal since it was set up by the UN Security Council in 1993. Drawing on our leading reputation, we are fortunate to attract regular contributions from leading figures involved in the war crimes process.
Facing Justice Programme
In 2007, IWPR in collaboration with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty launched a highly successful weekly radio programme on the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, Facing Justice, which was broadcast throughout the region, reaching 1.5 million listeners. The programme is rebroadcast by around 100 radio stations in Serbia, Bosnia ad Montenegro and provides reports not only on war crimes trials taking place at the ICTY and local courts, but also on various issues related to transitional justice.
Our training programme in the region is designed to meet the needs of Balkan journalists wanting to get a basic grasp of the functioning of the tribunal. Experience of training projects in many parts of the world over recent years has convinced IWPR that training works best when it is practical.
We offer training seminars designed to give journalists a firm grasp of the key tenets of the war crimes court, together with the main arguments for and against its operation. Our belief is that debate will be better served in the countries of the former Yugoslavia when it is built on informed knowledge. We hope soon to see local journalists act as trainers and teach the seminars themselves. For more information see our training section.
Over the past few years, the number of war crimes prosecutions has grown significantly along with awareness of these cases. The advent of the International Criminal Court, which opened its doors in July 2002, has put the issue centre stage. IWPR is committed to matching this by expanding our work to include a future focus on the ICC as well as the ICTY.
IWPR is grateful for the support of the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency, the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.