The Hague’s war crimes trials for Yugoslavia wind down

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The appeals filed this week by two former Serbian state security officials convicted of aiding and abetting war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina marked the final phase of 18 years of international efforts to adjudicate crimes committed during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Will do

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why it matters: Eva Vukusic, historian and genocide scholar at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, told Nerdshala, “The closure and end of the trials marks the end of an era – one that was a turning point for international law and went far beyond the former Yugoslavia.” “

running news: jovika stanisic, former head of Serbian state security, and Franco Simatovic, his former deputy, was the last of more than 160 defendants tried in The Hague as part of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

  • The case marked the first time that high-ranking Serbian government officials had been convicted of crimes committed in Bosnia. Both have been sentenced to 12 years and are appealing.
  • prosecution also filed an appeal, asking that the scope of his sentence be extended and that his sentence be extended.

big picture: “The ICTY was the first United Nations tribunal since the Cold War and without it, we would not have seen the efforts that led to the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court,” says Vukusic, who hopes to wrap up the final trials by 2023.

state of play: On whether the UN trials were successful, Vukusic said it depends on what one defines as the work of a court.

  • “If one has modest goals – such as personal responsibility for some important criminals, and fair trials, and some limited fact-finding – then it has been more successful than any other international court,” he said. In terms of the number of cases, she said.
  • “We know what happened to victims and communities because of these trials,” she continued. “This knowledge is important to families and communities alike. These archives are invaluable to scholars.”
  • “If one has more ambitious goals such as reconciliation or a joint narrative, it has largely failed,” Vucusic said, adding that the courts are not an ideal place for reconciliation efforts and that “history fights by nature.” Is.”
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What will happen next: Although cases related to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes have been wrapped up, the remaining trials of the suspects will be handed over to national courts.

  • Yet some local governments in the Balkans are hungry to deal with these thousands of remaining suspects.
  • In some cases, individuals suspected or even convicted of war crimes have run for public office.

Bottom-line: Vukusic noted that after “any war” as long and brutal as the breakup of Yugoslavia, “most suspects will not be tried. That’s the reality of it, there is no capacity, money or resources to do it.”

  • “Syrian and the victims of widespread atrocities around the world will find out in the future.”


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