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

Investigators Ready To Enter Kosovo

Tribunal Update 128: Last Week in The Hague (31 May - 5 June, 1999)

Milutinovic, however, failed to admit that, while there may not have been so much as a "T" for "The Hague", the Dayton agreement still contained many references to the I, the C and the T as in the 'ICTY'.

These little linguistic games have little or no importance here. It is likewise irrelevant that neither the Tribunal nor the indictment is mentioned in any of the 12 points of the document of unconditional surrender accepted by Milosevic on 3 June. But knowing their previous track record, it would not be surprising to find Milosevic, Milutinovic and others still trying to prevent the entry of Louise Arbour and her investigators into Kosovo on the basis that the Tribunal was not specifically mentioned in the peace deal.

Louise Arbour has spent the last two months touring Western capitals seeking guaranteed access into Kosovo for her investigators in the company of the peacekeepers. Deputy Prosecutor Graham Blewitt was last week visiting the UN in New York on the same business. It is possible that the Security Council, in the Kosovo Resolution expected soon, will repeat its linvitation to the Tribunal to conduct on-site investigations.

Even without this, it appears that finally nothing now stands in the way of Louise Arbour's entry into Kosovo. Speaking in Brussels, NATO spokesperson, Jamie Shea recently confirmed the promise given by NATO member states that OTP investigators will enter Kosovo. "I can assure you we will be facilitating the Tribunal's work and once NATO forces are inside Kosovo the Tribunal finally will be able to get on with the job...I fear it is going to be a very difficult job."

The job is indeed bound to be difficult in view of the fact Kosovo is widely regarded as a huge crime scene. Many countries, including the United States, Britain, Norway, Austria and others have already announced their intention to send their own forensic and investigating teams to Kosovo, to work alongside the OTP investigators. It therefore is promising to be the biggest on-site criminal investigation in history.

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