December 3, 2012
By Iva Vukusic, The Hague
The Appeals Judgment
‘I fundamentally dissent from the entire Appeal Judgment, which contradicts any sense of justice’# is what judge Fausto Pocar, one of the five appellate judges in the Gotovina and Markac trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), states in his Dissenting opinion (paragraph 39). That harsh statement, along with others in the Opinion, indicates just how significant the differences were between the judges’ interpretations during the deliberations on the responsibility of Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, sentenced by the Trial Chamber in April 2011 to 24 and 18 years of imprisonment, respectively, for taking part in a joint criminal enterprise the objective of which was the permanent removal of the Serb population from the Krajina region #. The events took place during and after Operation Storm conducted by the Croatian Military and Police forces in August 1995.
December 20, 2011
By Dr Olga Martin-Ortega (University of East London, Centre on Human Rights in Conflict) and Iva Vukusic
Over 300 participants; academics, practitioners, ICTY judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers as well as representatives of national judiciaries gathered in The Hague last November to examine the global legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The discussions throughout the conference, organized by the ICTY, were self-congratulatory, lacking in constructive criticism.
This was an opportunity to take stock of all the achievements of the ICTY, accomplishments made at times against all odds. Today, this is a court that has no fugitives left, it has conducted proceedings in relation to 161 persons and, little by little, it is approaching the end of its mandate. Two more trials, for the last fugitives caught – Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic are yet to begin.
October 5, 2011
By Iva Vukusic (The Hague)
Now that the last of the fugitives has been arrested, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) faces a calmer future. Two trials, those of the two most recent suspects to arrive to The Hague have yet to beginand several judgments will be rendered both in the first instance and on appeal. Then, maybe in five years or so – when all the trials are completed – the ICTY will go down in history as one of the most successful international institutions dealing with war crimes.
Eighteen years ago, images of attacks on civilians in Sarajevo, camp detainees in western Bosnia and ethnic cleansing on a massive scale caused a shift in public opinion and political will resulting in a new institution being born – one like no other before. Back then no one knew how successful it might be.
If you asked those involved in the early stages of the Tribunal’s work if all its suspects will one day be arrested, few would have probably answered affirmatively. Yet, all of them have been arrested. No other judicial institution can claim the same success.