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The Economist : What the Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal achieved

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The Economist explainsWhat the Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal achieved

It closes this month after 24 years and 161 indictments

The Economist explains

Dec 7th 2017

by T.J.

THE International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was established by the United Nations Security Council in 1993, closes at the end of this month. A few remaining appeals and retrials will become the responsibility of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which performs the same role with the now-closed Rwandan tribunal. The ramifications of the ICTY’s work extend far beyond the region. It was the first such court to prosecute war crimes since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials at the end of the second world war. It indicted 161 people, including former presidents and prime ministers. All were caught, handed themselves in, or died. Ninety were convicted. Nineteen were acquitted. None is a fugitive. The court heard evidence from more than 4,650 witnesses in cases relating to genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass murder and sexual violence.

Once a relatively liberal communist country, Yugoslavia disintegrated in the 1990s. It was a federation of six republics and two autonomous provinces—and a mish-mash of nationalities. Many regional leaders transmogrified into nationalists and war took hold. If Croatia was going to become independent then many of its Serb inhabitants would fight to remain in a Greater Serbian state. And Croat nationalists wanted a Greater Croatia that included Croat-inhabited parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And so on. As the Bosnian war ground on and Serb forces besieged Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, foreign powers could not agree how to respond. No one wanted to send troops to separate the parties. But they all approved the prosecution of war criminals, so backed the establishment of the tribunal. At first the court, based in The Hague, had little money. It also had no police of its own to arrest anyone indicted. But over the years its influence increased. It demanded that the Balkan states and others carry out arrests, and also got help from NATO-led peacekeepers in Bosnia. It succeeded in making the handing over of those indicted a political issue, with sanctions slapped on Serbia and Croatia when they dragged their feet.

Some of its achievements were legal and some political. Several of the most evil of the wartime actors were imprisoned. The tribunal gave victims and civilians a voice, and often justice, in a way that would not otherwise have been possible. It created new legal precedents. Sexual violence is now considered a war crime. It established the groundwork for other courts, including those that looked into horrors committed in Rwanda and Sierra Leone, and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Its 2.5m pages of transcripts provide an extraordinary archive. It established that genocide had taken place when some 8,000 Bosniaks (Muslims) were murdered as Srebrenica fell. To weigh against all this there must be the acknowledgment that many believe that justice was not always done. The hopes that many had for the tribunal have at times been disappointed. It did not accelerate the process of reconciliation. Many believe there was interference, from America and elsewhere, in its work. In cases related to Kosovar Albanians, in particular, prosecutors alleged witness-tampering.

According to Eric Gordy, a sociologist at University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the court tried to end impunity for war crimes and in this “it was partially successful”. It was founded at a time when there was still some consensus about the need for this. Now, sadly, that is no longer the case. There is no international tribunal indicting anyone for war crimes in Syria. Russia and America are among those countries that have either withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the ICC or never ratified its statute. It remains to be seen whether the Yugoslav tribunal will become a relic from a more hopeful time or a trailblazer in a cause that was always bound to suffer setbacks.

https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/12/economist-explains-3?cid1=cust/ddnew/email/n/n/2017127n/owned/n/n/ddnew/n/n/n/ne/Daily_Dispatch/email&etear=dailydispatch

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Written by Mika

15. decembra 2017. at 13:07

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SCOTT TAYLOR | Canada should distance itself from Kosovo leader

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thechronicleherald.ca

ON TARGET: Canada should distance itself from Kosovo leader

SCOTT TAYLOR | ON TARGET

5-6 minutes

Written by Mika

9. decembra 2017. at 11:45

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‘They treated her like a dog’: tragedy of the six-year-old killed at Croatian border

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theguardian.com

‘They treated her like a dog’: tragedy of the six-year-old killed at Croatian border | World news

Emma Graham-Harrison

8-10 minutes

Written by Mika

9. decembra 2017. at 09:49

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Serbia prepares special force to defend Serbs in Kosovo

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gazetaexpress.com

Serbia prepares special force to defend Serbs in Kosovo

GazetaExpress

1-2 minutes

Written by Mika

7. decembra 2017. at 10:26

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The Murder of Yugoslavia

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sputniknews.com

The Murder of Yugoslavia – Sputnik International

Sputnik

6-7 minutes

Written by Mika

28. novembra 2017. at 11:41

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Glimmers of hope in the Balkans

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ekathimerini.com

Glimmers of hope in the Balkans | Comment

NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

4-5 minutes

Written by Mika

27. novembra 2017. at 10:23

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Serbia forgives USA for 1999 bombings, forgets all victims, holds joint drills with NATO

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pravdareport.com

Serbia forgives USA for 1999 bombings, forgets all victims, holds joint drills with NATO

Dmitriy Sudakov

3-4 minutes

Written by Mika

14. novembra 2017. at 10:27

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