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Tribunal closes field offices in Croatia and Kosovo

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 31 December 2012

Tribunal closes field offices in Croatia and Kosovo

Reaching out to young people was a key role of the Pristina and Zagreb offices

In line with the completion strategy of the ICTY, the Tribunal’s field offices in Zagreb and Pristina will close on 31 December. The field offices in Belgrade and Sarajevo will remain open to continue supporting the work of the Tribunal.

ICTY President Judge Theodor Meron commended the work of the staff in both offices and said: “I am grateful to the staff of both liaison offices who over the years have worked in the most dedicated manner and provided essential support to the work of the Tribunal.”

The field offices’ mandate was two-fold. One was to act as the public face of the Tribunal in the country of operation and reach out to the communities affected by the work of the Tribunal. The other was to act as a liaison between the ICTY and national authorities on case related and other matters.

The liaison offices are instrumental in bridging the geographical gap between the seat of the Tribunal and the region. The Zagreb and Pristina offices provided a critical link between the Tribunal and its local partners in Croatia and Kosovo,” said Registrar John Hocking.

The field offices actively engaged with civil society, NGOs, victims, representatives of the media, legal professionals and the general public in order to provide accurate accounts of the institution’s work and achievements. Activities undertaken included bilateral meetings, participation at conferences, seminars and workshops and distribution of information material.

The field offices also played an important role in capacity building efforts, serving as a key conduit of information between national authorities and judiciaries and the Tribunal. Key activities undertaken included transfer and exchange of legal documents, diplomatic and case-related correspondence, and other forms of official communication.

The Belgrade and Sarajevo field offices will carry on liaison and outreach work in their respective countries, supporting the Tribunal’s efforts to expeditiously complete its remaining cases. These offices will also continue to encourage dialogue about the ICTY’s legacy across the states of the former Yugoslavia.

Since its establishment, the Tribunal has had six field offices in the former Yugoslavia. These were originally set up as outposts for the Office of the Prosecutor and were located in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Pristina, Banja Luka and Skopje. In early 2000, a Registry component was added to the field offices of Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb and Pristina, primarily to perform outreach and public information functions. The Skopje and Banja Luka offices closed in 2004 and 2007, respectively. The Office of the Prosecutor withdrew its presence from the Pristina office in 2006 and from the Zagreb office in 2010.

Any queries from the official bodies or general public in Croatia and Kosovo should be now directed to the ICTY seat in The Hague, under relevant Contacts.


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