Friday, March 7, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 7,2008) – New Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Serge Brammertz is in official two-day visit to Bosnia.

The arrest of war crimes suspects still at large in the southeastern Europe remains the top priority of the ICTY's new Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz told the Bosnian State Presidency in Sarajevo yesterday.

The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has an important role in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the entire region, Brammertz said after meeting with members of the Bosnian State Presidency.

The President of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic focused at the meeting he had with ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz and other Presidency members on the issues of arrests of the remaining war criminals, ICTY mandate extension, strengthening of the Bosnian judiciary institutions and ICTY Archives.
President Silajdzic emphasized the necessity of changing the UN Security Council’s Resolution foreseeing closing of the Tribunal by 2010.

Emphasizing that a kind of a reduced Tribunal will have to continue with the activities long after the year 2010, President Silajdzic emphasized that it is important for peace, safety and justice in the region that ICTY’s mandate is extended until the persons indicted are brought to justice.

President Silajdzic also reminded the ICTY Chief Prosecutor that apart from the breech of several resolutions of the UN SC for 12 years already, Serbia has openly breeched the ICJ verdict for a year now, for the Court ordered Serbia to “immediately” arrest all Serbian war criminals accused of committing genocide during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, especially Serbian war criminals Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic emphasized that the constant visits to Belgrade and general statements of the international officials on the need of such arrests would bring results. He asked Brammertz on concrete actions that can be taken to ensure that Serbia finally starts acting in accordance with the International Law.

Brammertz agreed with the remark that the past efforts have not brought concrete results and emphasized that the European and world leaders need to be constantly reminded of the fact that in this case the international obligations have clearly been defined and that family members of genocide victims expect to see justice, not a technical criteria that Serbia needs to fulfill on the way to the EU.

President Silajdzic also emphasized the need of strengthening judiciary institutions in Bosnia in order to ensure processing of thousands of cases related to genocide.

President Silajdzic also emphasized the need of treating the Tribunal documents the way the ICTY rules proscribe, and that, in that sense, Serbia must not get the documents back, for the Rules do not allow such an action.

Moreover, President Silajdzic emphasized that it is in the best interest of justice and historical heritage that all the documents of the Tribunal are open to public. He also emphasized the need of putting the ICTY Archives to the disposal of Bosnia.

Praising the work of the ICTY, a member of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic promised the full support of Bosnia's institutions for the ICTY's activities.

Bosnia's top officials and Brammertz also discussed plans for the completion of the tribunal's work in 2010.

It would be unimaginable, Brammertz said, that the ICTY would close before all war crimes suspects face justice.

"We will do our best to bring the fugitives before justice, because that is the responsibility and obligation of the international community," the chief prosecutor said.

Brammertz, who arrived on his first official visit to Bosnia since taking over the post from Carla Del Ponte on January 1, was also scheduled to meet today with the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak, and Bosnia's judicial authorities.

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