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Brammertz Urges Croatia to Keep Up Good Work

Brammertz says Zagreb’s support for the court is “good and full”.
The Hague tribunal’s new chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz, on his first official visit to the former Yugoslavia, this week praised Croatia for its cooperation with the court.

"I have no doubt that the cooperation will be as positive as it had been in the past,” he said after meeting Croatian justice minister Ana Lovrin on February 28.

On a two-day trip to Zagreb, Brammertz met Lovrin to discuss the country’s future support for the tribunal, the Croatian archives and the protection of witnesses.

Belgian prosecutor Brammertz took up his position at the beginning of the year, taking over from Carla Del Ponte who stepped down after eight years.

Lovrin said Zagreb’s cooperation with the tribunal has been "good and full".

Croatia’s officials claim that the arrest of former Croatian general Ante Gotovina in Spain in 2005 is testament to Zagreb’s support for the tribunal.

Gotovina is charged along with three other men with the murder and forced removal of members of the Serb population from the Serb area of Krajina in 1995, during a Croatian military operation, known as Storm.

During the visit, Brammertz emphasised the role of national prosecutors in the Balkans in helping to bring remaining fugitives to justice.

Highest on that list are former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his army commander Ratko Mladic. Both men are wanted by the tribunal on charges of genocide committed in Srebrenica in July 1995. It is alleged they are responsible for the deaths of more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in the region.

"We need the support of the countries of the region and the international community to help us [in] arresting the remaining four fugitives," he said.

Brammertz is set to visit Sarajevo next week and plans to go to Belgrade soon, but, according to his spokesperson, is “mindful of the current situation” there.

Simon Jennings is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.