|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 2 April 2009
Conference of Prosecutors in Brussels, Belgium on 2-3 April 2009
Please find below the Joint statement of Prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and the ICTY adopted in Brussels today at the conference entitled: "From Palić to Brussels: International cooperation and the prosecution of war crimes in the States of the Western Balkans"
The Prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and the ICTY are meeting in Brussels to continue discussions and further cooperation in war crimes prosecutions. This conference is organised with the support of the European Commission.
Previous meetings and conferences, as part of the Palić and Brijuni processes have strengthened working relationships between the Prosecution Offices. They have also highlighted the need to cooperate even more intensely in certain areas so as to further improve the investigation and prosecution of war crimes cases at the national level.
The meetings today and tomorrow are another important step in furthering this process, especially in relation to the creation and adaptation of necessary tools such as compatible data-bases of war crimes. It also marks a further strengthening of cooperation between national Prosecution Offices and the ICTY made possible by the direct involvement of the European Union.
The Prosecutors especially welcome the new Joint European Commission and ICTY Project for National Prosecutors and Young Professionals from the former Yugoslavia. The project will make it possible for war crimes prosecutors to be given direct access to the expertise, data and information held by the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor and work side by side with its staff. They will have the opportunity to use existing databases and to access ICTY material and to conduct research and collect material for the purposes of national war crimes investigations and prosecutions. In addition, they will be a contact point for other national prosecutors of the same country working on war crimes investigations and cases.
The project will also provide an opportunity for young legal professionals to participate in basic case work in the OTP involving evidentiary as well as legal matters and thus gain valuable experience.
As the ICTY is nearing the end of its mandate, it is of paramount importance that the international community maintains its support and continues to provide the resources necessary for its successful completion. It is also of great importance to ensure the future safekeeping and accessibility of the ICTY archives to judicial bodies following the completion of the Tribunal’s mandate.
The Prosecutors welcome the support of the European Union as part of the European integration perspective of the countries of the Stabilisation and Association process. Dealing effectively with war crimes cases is an integral part of the accession process.
The Prosecutors express their full commitment to continuing their work and are looking forward to all initiatives which would remove any remaining legal obstacles to the more efficient prosecution of war crimes cases in the region of the former Yugoslavia. This improved cooperation will bring justice to the victims and contribute to reconciliation and good neighbourly relations.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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