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

Tribunal: Jan ‘08

Project lands rare interview with former deputy prosecutor in trial of Slobodan Milosevic.
A recent highlight for the project was securing an exclusive interview with Sir Geoffrey Nice, the former prosecutor in the case against ex-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

This prominent British lawyer was one of the ten most important personalities and newsmakers in Croatia in 2007, according to the editorial team of the Croatian political magazine Globus.

Nice owes his popularity in the Balkans to his open criticism of former chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, her indictment policy and the alleged concessions she made to the Serbian government to persuade them to cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor.

I met him in late December while he was visiting Sarajevo, and quizzed him over his role in the case against Milosevic who died in his prison cell in 2006, only a few months before his trial was due to end.

In the interview, Nice spoke frankly about controversies surrounding the tribunal’s prosecution policy and protective measures granted to Serbian Supreme Defence Council, SDC, wartime documents handed over to the Hague tribunal a few years ago.

Nice, who had to be very careful when speaking about SDC documents because they are still confidential for the most part, gave credit to IWPR for highlighting this sensitive and highly controversial subject.

He cited our report Justice at What Price? from May 2005, which was written by IWPR investigations coordinator Hugh Griffiths and IWPR’s programme manager in The Hague Ana Uzelac. (

This piece looked into the consequences allowing Belgrade to keep key evidence from public view in the Milosevic trial could have for justice and reconciliation. Many observers believe that SDC transcripts could prove Serbia’s direct involvement in the wars in Bosnia and Croatia in the early Nineties.

The interview, which was published on January 11, was republished in the second largest Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje, and was also broadcast in our radio programme Facing Justice. It appeared on international websites, including Trial (, Ein news agency, and

The project secured another exclusive with its interview of outgoing chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who left at the end of 2007 after eight years in the role. Her successor Belgian lawyer Serge Brammertz, who will lead the prosecution team until the tribunal closes down in 2010, took over on January 1.

We published the interview in full on December 21, and also provided extensive coverage on the chief prosecutor’s replacement in both Facing Justice and Tribunal Update.

Growing cooperation between IWPR and Radio Free Europe staff, with whom we produce the radio programme Facing Justice, resulted in an excellent joint report on Del Ponte’s achievements and failures, published in our Tribunal Update at the end of December.

Since RFE has a wide network of reporters in all parts of the former Yugoslavia, we were able to interview about two dozen politicians, legal experts, historians and human rights activists in Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb and Banja Luka.

We provided comprehensive coverage of several other important events in December, including the resumption of the trial of Serbian Radical leader Vojsilav Seselj; a judgment rendered in the case against a Bosnian Serb charged with the siege of Sarajevo; and two Zagreb trials of high-ranking Croatian officials charged with war crimes.