War crimes prosecutor winds down Yugoslav trials

BY REBECCA AGULE

On October 5, Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), joined Professor Alex Whiting and a standing room only audience for a discussion entitled, “International Criminal Justice: Challenges of Investigating and Prosecuting War Crimes.” As a former Professor of Law at the University of Liège, Brammertz clearly felt comfortable in front of the student audience, noting his own appreciation for the interaction between the judicial world and the academic one.

Brammertz’s fluency in four languages served him well as a Belgian federal prosecutor, where he focused on organized crime, terrorism and international humanitarian law. In 2003, Brammertz moved to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where – as a member of the Investigations Division of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) – he conducted the inaugural investigations of crimes in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur, Sudan. Following the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the United Nations Secretary General appointed Brammertz to the UN Independent Investigation Commission.

Charged with closing out the ICTY, Brammertz must finish current trials and locate remaining fugitives. Thus far, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons, with seven cases still to be completed. Brammertz enumerated some of the Tribunal’s difficulties, including the balancing of victims’ needs against keeping each case manageable. Recalling how former Yugoslav President Slobodan Miloševi

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