Hague Prosecutor Criticises Bosnia War Case Delays

The prosecutor told the UN that there was still a huge backlog of war crimes cases from the Bosnian conflict and progress towards clearing them by the 2023 deadline was unacceptably slow.

Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, told the United Nations Security Council in his latest biannual report on Thursday that Bosnia’s progress towards prosecuting all its remaining war crimes cases was ‘considerably delayed and a large backlog of cases remains’.

‘Serious action is required if this large volume of cases is to be completed by the 2023 deadline,’ Brammertz warned.

He said that the delay was not ‘solely from a lack of resources’, but reflected ‘little commitment by the responsible institutions to prioritise war crimes investigations and prosecutions’.

Brammertz also complained that there had been ‘very little progress’ over the past six months in war crimes cases transferred from the Hague Tribunal to Bosnian courts for processing locally.

Speaking about the implementation of Bosnia’s national war crimes strategy, Brammertz said that ‘the picture is bleak’.

The Hague Tribunal’s president Theodor Meron meanwhile told the UN Security Council in his biannual report on Thursday that the trials of Bosnian Serb military and political chiefs Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic and Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic were on track and ‘continuing in line with past forecast for judgment delivery’.

Meron said that the Karadzic verdict is expected in October 2015, the Hadzic verdict in December 2015 and the Mladic verdict in July 2016.

But he admitted that the trial of Serbian Radical Party chief Vojislav Seselj had again been delayed.

No date has yet been set for a verdict in Seselj’s lengthy trial, which has suffered repeated delays and . Seselj has been in custody since 2003 and on trial since 2007.

Meron gave no further indications of when a judgement might be handed down, only saying that ‘the trial bench hopes to be in a position to decide on next steps in the case in due course’.

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