The ICTY fifteen years on 04 Jun 2008
President Pocar has addressed the UN Security Council highlighting the 'exponential development' in international criminal law and the key challenges still faced by the ICTY.

President of the ICTY, Judge Fausto PocarFifteen years after the United Nations Security Council ‘changed the course of history by creating the first truly international jurisdiction’, the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Judge Fausto Pocar, has presented his report on the Tribunal’s completion strategy.

In his speech of 4 June 2008 in New York, President Pocar spoke of the Tribunal’s successes over the last 15 years and the contribution that the ICTY has made to the ‘exponential development of international criminal law’.

On 25 May 1993, the Security Council adopted Resolution 827 which established the ICTY – the first development of its kind since the Nuremberg and Tokyo Military Tribunals following World War II.

President Pocar spoke of the significance that the Tribunal had played in training ‘an entire generation of lawyers and judicial staff’ in the area of international criminal law. In addition to stressing the important legacy that the Tribunal’s jurisprudence would leave for future courts, President Pocar also alluded to the productivity of the ICTY where eight trials involving 28 accused are currently taking place.

‘Fragile progress’

In his address on Wednesday, President Pocar also spoke of the many challenges faced by the Tribunal as it attempted the timely completion of its mandate while still upholding the rights of the accused to a fair and expeditious trial. Most notably, cooperation between States in the former Yugoslavia in the investigation and prosecution of alleged war criminals was raised as an area which was still problematic and where ‘progress remains extremely fragile’. President Pocar again reiterated that the tribunal would not have fully achieved its goal of rendering justice if the four remaining fugitives were not arrested.

According to ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, who addressed the Security Council on the same day, all four of the fugitives, Ratko Mladić, Radovan Karadžić, Stojan Župljanin and Goran Hadžić, “are in reach of the authorities in Serbia” and the Prosecutor asserted that the authorities in Belgrade could do more to locate and arrest the individuals concerned.

Radovan Stankovic escaped from prison in Foca in late May 2007 while he was serving a 20-year sentence for crimes committed in the same area. Stankovic faked a toothache and managed to evade nine prison guards while being taken to the dentist. The hunt for him has continued for over a year without success.In addition to the four accused still at large, President Pocar lamented the failure of the Republika Srpska authorities to recapture Radovan Stanković more than one year after he escaped from prison in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Stanković had had his case referred to the Court of BiH and was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for particularly appalling crimes against humanity committed in the notorious Foča “rape camps”. The President noted that this inability to apprehend Stanković after his escape from the prison in Foča was a stain on the reputation of the Republika Srpska authorities but that it also highlighted the scale of the problems faced by the ICTY as it begins to complete its mandate.

All but three of the trials before the ICTY are expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

Press release: President Pocar addresses UN Security Council
Text of President Pocar's speech

Press release: Prosecutor Brammertz addresses UN Security Council
Text of Prosecutor Brammertz's speech

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