Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal Full of Work

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Thursday, August 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
Throughout June, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has continued to conduct business at full capacity. In fact, the ICTY is clearing trying to prepare for a transition in which it can eventually wrap up its work. On June 17-21, 2002, the President of the ICTY, Judge Claude Jorda, and the Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, and the Deputy Registrar, Bruno Cathala, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to discuss the possibility of the Tribunal deferring some of its cases to the national authorities. The delegation met with various BiH representatives, including judges, Parliamentary officials, prosecutors, and other legislative and judicial officials. The delegation collected information on the operation of the judicial system in BiH and any difficulties it has had in adjudicating war crimes. The delegation engaged in a dialogue with the national and international political and judicial authorities on ways to successfully achieve the Tribunal?s mandate. In particular, pursuant to the ICTY program transmitted to the UN Security Council in November 2001, the ICTY is concentrating on two major themes: increasingly focusing on prosecuting the highest-ranking political and military leaders and, under certain specific conditions, deferring some cases concerning intermediary-level accused persons to the national authorities. During the visit the delegation also reiterated the international obligations of the national authorities to arrest all individuals indicted by the Tribunal, especially the highest-ranking political and military leaders, and cooperate in evidence gathering with the ICTY, that is, furnishing the ICTY the evidence requested to adjudicate the pending cases. On Jane 13, 2002 SFOR forces arrested Darko Mrjda in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following day Mrdja was transferred to the Detention Unit.