Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
for better understanding of the icty in the Former Yugoslavia.
On Friday 16 October 1998, the International Tribunal’s Outreach Symposium ended after two highly constructive days of presentations, meetings and discussions at its seat in The Hague.
The event brought together leading figures from the judicial and legal communities of the former Yugoslavia and gave them the opportunity to listen to and question senior members of all sections of the Tribunal. The President, and other Judges, the Office of the Prosecutor, officials from the Registry (Detention Unit, Public Information, and the Victims and Witnesses Unit) were all represented. The Tribunal was also eager to hear the participants’ ideas on how they think it could improve its image and to look for ways to incorporate these ideas. An example of the type of suggestion offered by the participants was for the Tribunal to invite judges and lawyers from the former Yugoslavia to observe the trials that would help in "building mutual understanding and trust and raising the credibility of the ICTY".
The purpose of the meeting was to address some of the misapprehensions about the Tribunal that persist in the former Yugoslavia. In the five years since its establishment, the Tribunal has focused its efforts on the creation of the judicial and institutional framework necessary for the prosecution and trial of those accused of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia. As a result, today the intention expressed by the Security Council in resolution 827 has been realized. The Tribunal is now a viable and effective international criminal judicial body. Now that this has been accomplished, its proceedings and judgements must be explained in their wider context. Established to contribute to the restoration and maintenance of international peace and security, the Tribunal has a crucial role in reconciliation efforts in the former Yugoslavia. For it to carry out this function, the relationship of the judicial process to such efforts must be understood by the persons that it affects most—the people of the former Yugoslavia.
As President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald stated in her invitation letter, "For the Tribunal’s investigative and judicial work to have the desired effect, it must be known and understood by the people of the region…However, that cannot happen and the Tribunal cannot contribute to the goals of peace, justice and reconciliation if its work is not only not known in the region but also actively misunderstood."
The first step to achieve this is the building of an effective relationship between the Tribunal and legal and judicial professionals in the region, to ensure that they have access to accurate and timely information concerning the Tribunal. Moreover, they are the people best placed to act as informational liaisons to explain the Tribunal’s role.
The Tribunal understands that there exist serious concerns about it among the population of the former Yugoslavia. These are understandable, the more so because they have been and are still being exploited by those in positions of power in whose interest it is to block cooperation with the Tribunal. These concerns have to be addressed if the Tribunal is to succeed in its mandated task of helping to bring about peace and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia. Direct communication and interaction is one of the most effective ways of doing so.
This objective is difficult to achieve, and requires long-term commitment, particularly as the Tribunal’s judicial activities will continue and expand at the same time as it seeks to explain its relationship to the peace process. Nevertheless, the Tribunal is committed to doing so, and the Outreach Symposium has provided a solid foundation for such a beginning.
The Tribunal would like to thank all the participants who contributed during the two days. The Tribunal is also especially grateful to the Coalition for International Justice, who organized the Symposium and to USIP who financed it.
Mr. Hikmet Arnautovic: Leading Prosecutor in Sarajevo who handles war crimes cases.
Judge Emin Halilcevic: Investigative Judge in Tuzla. Involved in many of the Srebrenica exhumations and related investigations.
Judge Davorin Jukic: Sarajevo Cantonal Court. Has presided over several of the larger war crimes cases in Sarajevo.
Ms. D. Soljic-Coric: A Defence Attorney from West Mostar. Has done a fair amount of war crimes defence work.
Republika Srpska (RS)
Judge Mirko Dabic: Supreme Court of the RS. He is also President of the Association of Judges and Prosecutors in the RS.
Mr. Vojislav Dimitrijevic: Public Prosecutor of the RS.
Ms. Ljiljan Mijovic: Professor of Law, Banja Luka Law School.
Miodrag Stojanovic: Defence Attorney. Also works with the Helsinki Committee, and is very involved with war crimes issues in the RS.
Ms. Tatjana Burjacenko Grubisa: Zagreb lawyer with significant experience in human rights cases. She also works for the Helsinki Committee.
Judge Damir Kos: Municipal Court, Zagreb.
Judge Marin Mrcela: Municipal Court, Zagreb.
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Judge Boro Djukanovic Judge from Montenegro.
Ms Natasha Kandic: Chief of the Humanitarian Law Centre Belgrade.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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