U.S. Congress Has Oversight Hearing on International War Crimes Tribunals

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Monday, April 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On February 28, 2002, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representative held a hearing on “The U.N. Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda “International Justice or Show of Justice?”. Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, testified that the rule of law is starting to prevail over evil, as evidenced by the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic. However, problems that challenge the integrity of the process, such as the professionalism of some of the personnel has been called into question with allegations of mismanagement and abuse, as well as the cost, delays, and efficiencies plague the tribunals. As a result, the Bush Administration is “urging both Tribunals to begin to aggressively focus on the end-game and conclude their work by 2007-2008". Prosper called on regional states to cooperate. The ICTY has also produced a protocol for witnesses who are in danger of retaliation in their home territories that permits them to testify with some comfort and includes a special Victim Witnesses Unit that arranges their travel and lodging in the Hague, sometimes escorts them cases for closing the proceedings.