Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Editor's Note

By Chris Stephen in The Hague (TU 323, 05 September 2003)

As the tribunal started up again, the trial of Slobodan Milosevic quickly produced testimony pointing to a link between the Yugoslav army - for which he held supreme command responsibility - and Bosnian Serb forces that went into action in Visegrad in 1992 and Srebrenica three years later, resulting in appalling war crimes.

The Milosevic trial will continue to hog the headlines - the prosecution case is nearly finished and the defence case due to start. The world is waiting to see how the former Yugoslav president will answer allegations that he orchestrated atrocities in three separate Balkan wars.

But other trials are also looming: Milosevic's former secret service chief, Jovica Stanisic, is due to appear. So is Vojislav Seselj, the extreme nationalist who commanded paramilitaries from Serbia.

Other defendants include former Bosnian Serb president Momcilo Krajisnik and the commander of the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, Naser Oric.

And prosecutors are expected to announce their final list of indictments, having agreed to stop issuing charges at the end of 2004.

Meanwhile, the whole issue of war crimes is under the spotlight as never before: In July, the United States announced plans to suspend military aid from nations which refused to give it immunity from the International Criminal Court, ICC, also based in The Hague. The ICC, in turn, is expected to announce its first ever prosecution.

And the United Nations may clash with Serbia over Belgrade's refusal, this summer, to open all its archives to prosecutors in the Milosevic trial.

IWPR will be providing coverage of these events, reporting from the courts, examining the wider issues and training journalists, all with the ultimate goal of explaining the process to those who matter most - the victims of a decade of violence in the Balkans.

Chris Stephen is IWPR project manager in The Hague.

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