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The Hague, 18 June 2010
Prosecutor Brammertz’s Address before the Security Council
Prosecutor Serge Brammertz addressed today the UN Security Council and provided the Office of the Prosecutor’s 13th progress report on the completion strategy.
In his address, the Prosecutor provided an update on the judicial work of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), the cooperation of States, the efforts that had been undertaken to support the work of prosecution services in the region, as well as the current organisational plans.
In relation to the judicial work, the Prosecutor emphasised that there are no more cases in the pre-trial stage as the cases against all remaining accused are in the active trial phase. Prosecutor Brammertz also noted the recent “milestone judgement in the Popović et al. case in which seven former high-ranking Bosnian Serb military and police officials were convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” for their role in the atrocities committed in Srebrenica 15 years ago. He said that “the Chamber’s findings are further confirmation that those found guilty in the Popović case worked under the orders of other indictees, such as Ratko Mladić, who remains at large” and that this “reminds us once again of the urgent need to bring Ratko Mladić to justice.”
The Prosecutor then turned to the issue of cooperation of States and noted that Serbia "has continued to respond adequately to requests for assistance, by providing access to documents, archives and witnesses" and highlighted the importance of the recently seized diaries and other materials belonging to the fugitive Ratko Mladić. He also noted, however, that Serbia’s efforts to apprehend the two remaining fugitives – Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić - "have thus far produced few tangible results” and that “Serbia’s current operational strategies need to be reviewed.” The Prosecutor also informed the Security Council that he had “expressed these concerns at the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council” and that he “reiterated to the Ministers that the support of the European Union in securing cooperation of States, has not only been extremely effective in the past, but will remain essential in the future.”
In relation to the cooperation of Croatia, the Prosecutor stated that the “the issue of the missing important documents related to Operation Storm in 1995 remains outstanding”. The Prosecutor informed the Council that he had been assured by Croatian authorities that the activites suggested by his Office one year ago will be undertaken and that Croatia will intensify its administrative investigation. He also expressed hope that these activities will result in effective action and concrete results and that Croatia will fully account for the missing documents.
Turning to the cooperation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Prosecutor said that the authorities “continue to respond adequately to requests for assistance” and that he continued to encourage them “to take all necessary measures against the networks supporting fugitives.” He “welcomed the assistance provided by the Office of the High Representative and other international organisations in this regard.” The Prosecutor also strongly encouraged the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international community to continue providing the necessary support for the prosecution of war crimes cases.
Prosecutor Brammertz continued his address by turning to another priority of the OTP – the support for national jurisdictions prosecuting war crimes. He stressed that “building the capacity of local courts to try war crimes is not only critical to the success of the Tribunal’s completion strategy and legacy, but is also essential for lasting justice.” He informed the Council that the OTP had completed the transfer of cases and investigation files to courts and prosecution offices in the region and he especially thanked the European Union for extending the funding for the project of liaison prosecutors and young professionals from the region who work in the Office of the Prosecutor in The Hague. The project had been “very valuable and effective in facilitating the exchange of information and know-how between the international forum and national prosecution services”, he stated.
The Prosecutor noted the recent improvement and the conclusion of “important judicial cooperation agreements” between states in the former Yugoslavia and warned that “further efforts are necessary if there is to be a coordinated approach to war crimes prosecutions across the region.” The Prosecutor also said that “recent conciliatory gestures from political leaders in the region have led to the creation of space for a new and constructive dialogue”. “It is only in such environment, which is void of provocation, that the prosecutors and courts can do their work and further build upon the work of the Tribunal,” he concluded.
Addressing OTP organizational issues, the Prosecutor informed the Council that the Office of the Prosecutor is the first organ of the ICTY to begin the “difficult and complex” process of downsizing and is “continuing to follow a strict policy of decreasing staff levels as trials end.”
The Prosecutor concluded his remarks before the United Nations Security Council by stressing that “the human tragedy of the war is still a vivid memory, as victims, the peoples of the former Yugoslavia and the international community continue to seek justice”. He said that “the painful chapter of recent history can only properly be closed when all those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law have been brought to trial” which is why “there can be no alternative to the immediate arrest of the fugitives.”
The full text of the Prosecutor's speech can be found at:
The full report of the Completion Strategy Assessment can be found on the Tribunal’s website at:
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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