International Justice/ICTY: July/Aug ‘09

Leading academic speaks highly of IWPR report on uncertain fate of international legal staff working for the local justice system.

International Justice/ICTY: July/Aug ‘09

Leading academic speaks highly of IWPR report on uncertain fate of international legal staff working for the local justice system.

Wednesday, 16 September, 2009
An IWPR special report on the uncertain future of the international judges and prosecutors engaged by the Bosnian State Court was republished by several leading legal and rights associations.


The report, Bosnia: Future of International Judges and Prosecutors in Doubt, focused on Bosnian divisions over whether the mandate for international judges and prosecutors working on national war crimes trials should be extended when it is set to expire in December this year.


Politicians from the Bosnian Serb entity Republika Srpska, RS, argue that the country should be left to run its own courts, while local and international observers warn that if the Bosnian parliament fails to vote to retain the staff, the work of the country’s war crimes court could be seriously undermined.


The report was republished by Human Rights in Geneva, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and The American Bar Association, ABA, the world's largest professional organisation with a membership of over 400,000.


Commenting on this report, Dr Kathleen Young, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Western Washington University, said, “The [Hague tribunal] has said it can only prosecute the most well-known and egregious charges of crimes against humanity. There is no evidence whatsoever that Republika Srpska has the will or the capacity to charge, try, or successfully incarcerate war criminals.


“Victims live side by side with those knowingly guilty of atrocities that will never be charged. To disband the international influence of the Bosnian version of the tribunal is to put aside even the illusion of fairness or justice for victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, atrocities including tactical war rape, etc. To extend the international mandate is to show the EU a willingness to abide by international law.”


Robert Donia, professor of history at the University of Michigan, said that the article gives “a broad, balanced view of a contemporary issue that is currently before the legislative bodies of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and as a reader it enabled me to understand the issue better and to appreciate the views of various stakeholders in the debate.


“This is the most comprehensive, fairest treatment of the issue that I have seen or heard in any media.”

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