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The Hague, 12 December 2008
Prosecutor Brammertz's Address Before the Security Council
The Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz addressed today the UN Security Council and provided his progress report on the completion strategy.
In his address, the Prosecutor focused on the ongoing judicial proceedings, the cooperation of States, the interaction with prosecution services in the former Yugoslavia and organizational matters.
In respect of judicial proceedings, Prosecutor Brammertz outlined the efforts of his Office in conducting the current cases against senior political and military figures and the steps taken to present these broad and complex cases more efficiently and expeditiously. The Prosecutor also expressed his concern with witness interference and emphasized the great importance of protection of witnesses who testify before the Tribunal. He asked for the support of states in which witnesses reside in this respect.
Turning to the issue of cooperation of states, Prosecutor Brammertz said that it “remains critical in several areas: the access to archives and the provision of documents, access to and protection of witnesses, the search for, arrest and transfer of the remaining fugitives.”
The Prosecutor stated that Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to grant access to Government archives and to provide documents requested. He expressed his hope that the current internal political and institutional difficulties will not have a negative impact on cooperation. The Prosecutor also encouraged the local authorities to adopt a proactive approach against those helping the fugitives evade justice.
Prosecutor Brammertz then informed the Council that although Croatia has responded to most requests for assistance, the Office of the Prosecutor continues to seek access to important material in the Gotovina case. He stressed that “as the trial is in progress, it is crucial that the remaining requested key documents be made available immediately”.
With respect to Serbia, the Prosecutor said that its cooperation with his Office has significantly improved since the previous report. Commending the Serbian authorities on the arrests of Stojan Župljanin and Radovan Karadžić, the Prosecutor stated that “they were the result of improved effective leadership and coordination between political and judicial authorities, and security services”. Prosecutor Brammertz noted, however, that his Office is still seeking access to certain key military documents.
The Prosecutor then turned to the “most critical area of cooperation… the apprehension of fugitives” and stated that planning and coordination between the different security services has improved and that the Serbian authorities are conducting more proactive, comprehensive and widespread actions to arrest Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić. The Prosecutor concluded by saying that “should the current operational plans be successfully implemented, the analytical capacity reinforced and the necessary political support maintained, additional positive results could be achieved.”
In terms of cooperation with judicial authorities in the former Yugoslavia prosecutor Brammertz said that his Office continues to support efforts to strengthen the capacity of the judiciaries of the former Yugoslavia to deal with war crimes cases at the national level and particularly the international and national efforts to strengthen the Special Department for War Crimes in the Office of the Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also said that due to current obstacles preventing the extradition of nationals and legal barriers precluding the transfer of war crimes proceedings between the states in the region, there is a danger that many lower and mid-level perpetrators of war crimes committed in the early 1990s in the former Yugoslavia will evade justice. He stressed that these issues should urgently be addressed by all authorities concerned in order to address this impunity gap.
Turning to organizational matters, the Prosecutor asked for support for measures necessary to retain the staff needed to complete all cases.
Prosecutor Brammertz concluded his address before the United Nations Security Council by asking for the organization’s continued support so that the Tribunal may successfully conclude its mandate.
The full text of the Prosecutor's speech can be found on the Tribunal’s website at:
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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