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New chief prosecutor nominated; Serbian reporters investigated for “spreading hatred”; war crimes convict sent to Sweden

By IWPR staff in The Hague (TU No 526, 16-Nov-07)
By IWPR ICTY
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week nominated Serge Brammertz of Belgium to replace Carla Del Ponte as chief prosecutor at the Hague tribunal.



Members of the Security Council now have to accept his nomination and their decision will be announced before Del Ponte's mandate ends in December 2007.



Brammertz, 45, is the current head of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister

Rafik Hariri.



He had already been mentioned as the main candidate to succeed Del Ponte, although Del Ponte’s current deputy David Tolbert was favoured by human rights groups and some lawyers from the tribunal.



According to the Associated Press news agency, in two separate letters to Ban Ki-moon, rights activists and 18 senior lawyers, including tribunal lawyers, backed Tolbert, arguing that a newcomer could disrupt the tribunal in its final years.



The new chief prosecutor will assume this post on January next year.



***



Serbian war crimes prosecutors are investigating two cases of journalists who had allegedly used their reporting to spread hatred and encourage war crimes during the Balkan wars in the Nineties.



Their names haven’t been revealed yet, as it is still not clear whether the investigation will lead to their indictment.



If the indictments are issued, this will be the first time that reporters are accused of being accomplices in war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.



This has become possible because Serbian and Croatian war crimes prosecutors agreed at a regional conference held recently in the city of Dubrovnik that journalists can be prosecuted for complicity in war crimes if there is enough evidence that they encouraged others to commit these crimes.



***



A Bosnian Croat convicted of committing war crimes in central Bosnia and sentenced to a 20-year jail term by the Hague tribunal has been transferred to Sweden to serve his sentence.



Miroslav Bralo was sentenced in December 2005 for crimes including multiple murders as well as the rape and torture of Bosniak civilians during the war between Bosniaks and Croats in 1993.



The former police officer was transferred to the tribunal at the end of 2004 and pleaded guilty to charges against him.



Sweden signed a 1999 agreement with the Hague tribunal to offer prison space for convicted war criminals.



Former Bosnian Serb president Biljana Plavsic is serving an 11-year jail term in Sweden for crimes against humanity. Miroslav Deronjic - the third Hague convict transferred to this country - died in May this year. He was serving a ten- year sentence.

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