Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Visit to Sarajevo

Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Serge Brammertz and Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina Gordana Tadic met today in Sarajevo in preparation for Prosecutor Brammertz’s upcoming report to the UN Security Council and to discuss issues of mutual concern.

Chief Prosecutor Tadic reiterated her desire for continued and strengthened cooperation with and assistance from the Mechanism Office of the Prosecutor, and Chief Prosecutor Brammertz confirmed his Office’s willingness to provide requested support to the PO BiH to enable it to achieve more justice for victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The Chief Prosecutors discussed the urgent need for improved regional cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of war crimes, and reviewed the steps taken in furtherance of agreements reached at the recent regional conference of war crimes prosecutors in Belgrade. It was agreed that there is a major challenge with fugitives indicted by the Court of BiH enjoying safe haven in neighboring countries. The PO BiH will intensify its efforts to transfer indictments to countries where the accused can be prosecuted, and the Mechanism OTP will provide the requisite assistance, including facilitating the transfer and progress of cases.

The Chief Prosecutors also discussed the progress achieved by the PO BiH. It was recognized that the PO BiH recently achieved more positive results particularly in issuing complex indictments involving serious crimes and senior accused. It was further agreed that the work of the PO BiH can continue to be improved. Chief Prosecutor Tadic requested the assistance of the Mechanism OTP to address identified issues, increase capacities and support continuous improvements. The Mechanism OTP will further assist the PO BiH to resolve remaining Rules of the Road files.

Chief Prosecutor Brammertz underlined his serious concern with the alarming rise in denial of crimes and glorification of war criminals in Bosnia and Herzegovina and throughout the region, which he will again report to the UN Security Council. The Chief Prosecutors agreed that all victims deserve respect and should be protected from insults and denial of their suffering. The Chief Prosecutors further agreed that the facts established in the judgments of the ICTY, Mechanism and Court of BiH must be respected and accepted as a fundamental principle of the rule of law.

Finally, the Chief Prosecutors discussed their mutual cooperation in the search for missing persons, together with other key partners like SIPA, the MPI and ICRC, which recently led to the discovery of a mass grave.

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