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

Tribunal: Sept ‘07

IWPR explores controversy sparked by Vukovar Three judgment.
By IWPR
IWPR this month examined the fallout from the judgments passed in the case of three Serb generals - which were slammed throughout Croatia and prompted the country’s premier Ivo Sanader to write to the UN Security Council demanding an explanation for such a verdict.



Sanader called the ruling in the case of the so-called Vukovar Three - who were indicted for the 1991 massacre in the Croatian town of Vukovar - "a defeat of the whole idea of the Hague tribunal”. On September 27, Mrksic got a 20-year prison sentence; Sljivancanin was sentenced to five years in jail, while Radic was acquitted.



Our contributor in Zagreb, Goran Jungvirth, wrote an in-depth feature exploring reactions to the judgment, which was posted on September 28, and later picked up by a number of local and international online publications.



This month, our intern from the United States, Sonia Nezamzadeh, wrote an interesting article looking at reactions to an appeal judgment handed down in the case of three former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA.



While this confirmed a previous verdict in this case and was less controversial than the Vukovar judgment, it again highlighted the problem with witness intimidation in Kosovo - which is considered a main obstacle to efficient and fair trials relating to the 1998-9 conflict in the province.



In September, IWPR continued to cover a number of other war crimes trials which resumed at the Hague tribunal as well as in the Balkan courts after the summer recess.



Another highlight this month was an interview tribunal programme manager Merdijana Sadovic gave to Volkskrant daily, the third biggest newspaper in Holland, on the possible arrest of one of the four remaining war crimes suspects - Bosnian Serb Stojan Zupljanin.



The interview helped raise awareness of IWPR in The Netherlands and confirmed the tribunal project’s position as the leading source of information on the court.



At the end of last month, Merdijana also met German filmmakers working on a feature film called Storm - which will focus on a fictional trial of a Serb general indicted for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.



The filmmakers have been carrying out extensive research on international law and trials at the Hague tribunal over the last 12 months, and they said the Tribunal Update archives - which hold all of our reports from 1996 onwards - were their main source of information.



According to them, our unique in-depth reports and analytical pieces helped them understand the workings of the court and problems that can arise.



They said they favoured our incisive analysis over the simple and sometimes dry court reporting often provided by other news organisations - an acknowledgement of IWPR's continuous efforts, team work and commitment to good quality reporting.

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