UN prosecutor to urge co-operation for war crimes cases

BELGRADE, Serbia 

The chief prosecutor for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) on Wednesday announced he will submit a report urging the need for co-operation in dealing with war crimes cases and the search for missing persons.

Serge Brammertz addressed the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo during a visit.

Brammertz said he will submit a report to the UN Security Council in December, which will emphasize the need for regional co-operation in dealing with war crimes cases and the search for missing persons.

He added that a national strategy for solving war crimes cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina has not yet been adopted and there are hundreds of cases that require prosecutions.

“Certainly, with the completion of the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [ICTY], the main responsibility now lies with the national authorities. We will continue our excellent cooperation with the Attorney General. We still have a prosecutor for a liaison from the Sarajevo office with The Hague and we still upload thousands of pages of transcripts and records, and I can say that the cooperation is very good.

“When it comes to regional co-operation, some perpetrators of crime are still located in nearby countries, and without extradition agreements, it is very difficult to work on these cases. Obviously, we must also mention the issue of missing persons, which is one of the priorities of our agenda. These are the issues that will be discussed in our report. It means issues of national prosecution of war crimes cases, regional cooperation and the issue of the missing,” Brammertz said.

Brammertz served as the chief prosecutor of the ICTY in The Hague — which ended its 24-year long activities on Dec. 31, 2017 — marking the end of a painful and bloody chapter in postwar European history.

The ICTY was established in 1993 with the UN decision to punish war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Although the court made key decisions in punishing war crimes, it has also been criticized by different ethnic groups.

Throughout its 24-year history, the court has convicted Bosnians, Kosovo Albanians and Croats, although it has mostly punished war crimes committed by the Serbs.
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