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Looking for Justice: The War Crimes Chamber in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Looking for Justice: The War Crimes Chamber in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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To date, the ICTY has been relatively successful in trying individuals for the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia. However, by the end of its mandate, it will have prosecuted only a small number of top-level perpetrators of war crimes. To continue with efforts to combat impunity, the War Crimes Chamber was established in Bosnia to bring justice for the most serious war crimes committed during the conflict. The concept underlying the WCC initiative is that accountability for gross violations of human rights that took place during the conflict ultimately remains the responsibility of the people of Bosnia. Thus, although it presently contains a significant international component, the WCC is essentially a domestic institution operating under national law. There is an aggressive transition strategy for the phasing out of international involvement within a short timeframe. The WCC therefore represents the latest model of an internationalized justice mechanism entrenched in a domestic legal system.
To date, the ICTY has been relatively successful in trying individuals for the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia. However, by the end of its mandate, it will have prosecuted only a small number of top-level perpetrators of war crimes. To continue with efforts to combat impunity, the War Crimes Chamber was established in Bosnia to bring justice for the most serious war crimes committed during the conflict. The concept underlying the WCC initiative is that accountability for gross violations of human rights that took place during the conflict ultimately remains the responsibility of the people of Bosnia. Thus, although it presently contains a significant international component, the WCC is essentially a domestic institution operating under national law. There is an aggressive transition strategy for the phasing out of international involvement within a short timeframe. The WCC therefore represents the latest model of an internationalized justice mechanism entrenched in a domestic legal system.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Srebrenica Genocide Library on May 12, 2010
Copyright:Public Domain

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04/19/2013

 
H U M A NR I G H T SW A T C H
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Looking forJustice
The WarCrimesChamberin Bosnia and Herzegovina
 
February 2006 Volume 18, No. 1(D)
Looking for Justice
The War Crimes Chamber in Bosnia and Herzegovina
I.
 
Introduction.....................................................................................................................1
 
II.
 
Background to the Establishment and Mandate of the War Crimes Chamber....4
 
III.
 
 The Office of the Prosecutor........................................................................................8
 
 A.
 
Overview of the Special Department for War Crimes..............................................8
 
B.
 
Progress towards effective prosecutions...................................................................10
 
C.
 
Resource shortages.......................................................................................................11
 
1.
 
Prosecutors....................................................................................................................11
 
2.
 
Investigators...................................................................................................................12
 
3.
 
 Translation.....................................................................................................................15
 
D.
 
Cooperation with the War Crimes Chamber............................................................16
 
1.
 
ICTY cooperation.........................................................................................................16
 
2.
 
Regional cooperation....................................................................................................19
 
IV.
 
Defense...........................................................................................................................22
 
 A.
 
Overview of the Criminal Defense Support Section...............................................22
 
B.
 
OKO efforts to enhance existing capacity of defense counsel..............................24
 
C.
 
Challenges that could undermine effective representation.....................................24
 
1.
 
Payment of defense counsel........................................................................................24
 
2.
 
Investigators...................................................................................................................26
 
 V.
 
 Witness Protection and Support.................................................................................29
 
 A.
 
Role of the Witness Protection Support Unit before and during trial..................29
 
B.
 
Role of the Witness Support Office before and during trial..................................31
 
C.
 
Protection and support post-trial...............................................................................33
 
 VI.
 
Outreach and Communications..................................................................................34
 
 A.
 
Overview of the Public Information and Outreach Section..................................34
 
B.
 
Initiatives of the PIOS.................................................................................................35
 
1.
 
Court Support Network...............................................................................................35
 
2.
 
Initiatives to engage the media....................................................................................37
 
3.
 
Other Initiatives............................................................................................................38
 
 VII.
 
 The War Crimes Chamber’s Potential for Impact...................................................40
 
 VIII.
 
Recommendations........................................................................................................41
 
 To the War Crimes Chamber......................................................................................41
 
 
To the Registry.......................................................................................................41
 
 To the Public Information and Outreach Section............................................41
 
 To the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina........................................................42
 
 To the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro and of Croatia................................42
 
 To the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia......................43
 
 To the international donor community.....................................................................43
 
IX.
 
 Acknowledgements.......................................................................................................44
 

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