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

Tribunal: July/Aug ‘07

IWPR representatives attend international conferences on justice issues.
Two important international conferences – one focusing on advancing the rule of law, and another one on genocide prevention – took place in July and representatives of the Tribunal programme attended both.

From July 9 to 13, 500 scholars, experts and activists from all over the world came to Sarajevo to discuss the prevention of genocide at a meeting of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, IAGS. Six such conferences have already been held in the United States, and this was the first time that this event took place in a country where genocide has been committed

Sarajevo University’s Institute of the Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law hosted this conference. A number of instances of genocide that occurred in the 20th century were discussed, including those in Armenia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia, as well as the Holocaust.

We had a very good and provocative report on this conference posted on July 20, in which our contributor from Sarajevo explored some of the reasons why the international community has continuously failed to prevent or recognise genocide, including that committed in Bosnia.

On July 13, a World Justice Project conference was staged in Prague, whose main goal was to promote the ideas behind this project, initiated by the American Bar Association, International Bar Association, and the Union Internationale Des Avocats.

The focus was on exploring how individuals and organisations - governmental and NGOs - can strengthen efforts to advance the rule of law around the world in various fields, from business, government, law and public health, to civil society and media.

As it turned out, media featured strongly in all discussions. Apart from IWPR, only two other media organisations were called to participate in this conference - Jordan Times and Radio Free Europe, RFE. We were also invited to take part in World Justice Project Forum, scheduled to take place in Vienna next July.

Also this summer, we held a meeting with RFE senior staff, at which details of future cooperation between RFE and IWPR’s tribunal programme were discussed.

In July, a new trial started at the Hague tribunal amid lots of controversy. The proceedings against former Bosnian army chief of staff, General Rasim Delic, was due to begin on July 9, but until the very last moment it was unclear whether the trial will take place at the tribunal, or be transferred to Bosnia, as the prosecutors requested.

Finally, literarily 5 minutes before the proceedings, the judges issued a decision in which they made clear that Delic will be tried in The Hague.

This trial was the focus of our attention the whole month, as Delic is the highest-ranking Bosnian official to appear at this court so far. We provided a series of courtsides and analytical reports on this case, which served as a good data base for local journalists in the region.

August was a relatively quiet month, because the tribunal was on summer recess and most trials resumed at the end of this month.

An event which drew considerable attention in August was the request of Croatian army general Ante Gotovina for provisional release.

Gotovina, who is currently awaiting trial in The Hague for war crimes committed against Serbs in 1995, was caught in 2005, after four years on the run.

All the major political parties in Croatia expressed their support for Gotovina’s demand, most of them in a bid to win more votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Our contributor from Zagreb Goran Jungvirth wrote an interesting article on the political games surrounding Gotovina’s request.

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