|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 17 January 2011
ICTY Judges Hold Peer-To-Peer Meeting with Judges from Former Yugoslavia
Judges from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) meet today with their peers from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo to share experiences in adjudicating war crimes cases.
The peer to peer meeting is part of the regional War Crimes Justice Project led by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) which aims to enhance the capacity of legal professionals in the region in the processing of complex war-crimes cases.
Some 20 judges, mainly from appellate courts in the region, participated in the meeting with Judge Fausto Pocar and Judge Carmel Agius from the ICTY. The judges discussed several topics including the protection of witnesses and victims, the definition of “civilians” in war crimes cases and the role of appellate judges in reviewing cases.
“This project is essentially about strengthening the capacity of regional justice systems to conduct war crimes trials in an effective and fair manner, consistent with the highest international standards of due process. It is about your justice systems and meeting your needs, but it is also about a shared commitment to the rule of law which is tested on a daily basis in courtrooms across the OSCE region,” said Douglas Wake, First Deputy Director at OSCE ODHIR, during the official opening of the Peer to Peer meeting.
Judge Pocar stated that sharing common experiences with judges in these courts strengthens the local judiciary but also enhances the work of the judges at all levels. “It is not just about the transfer of technical resources or knowledge, but it comes to sharing experiences, because we all have the same goal and we are faced with common problems in working on cases," concluded Judge Pocar.
ICTY judges had a similar session with Bosnia and Herzegovina judges in Sarajevo in December 2010, and a regional meeting of judges in Belgrade in September 2010. These exchanges of experiences will continue throughout the region in the coming months.
The War Crimes Justice Project is a 4-million euro regional project funded by the European Union and carried out by ODIHR in partnership with the ICTY, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and OSCE field operations.
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For more information please call Ms. Sanela Tunović, War Crimes Justice Project Outreach Officer at ++387 61 539 535 or email at wcjp [at] odihr.pl ()
For more information on the War Crimes Justice Project please visit http://www.icty.org/sid/240
War Crimes Justice Project Partners