Wednesday, July 11, 2012

19. Against all odds: The first ten years of the ICTY *

Today is the 17th anniversary of the Srebenica massacre.  This week is also international criminal justice week marking the first ten years of the International Criminal Court (ICC).  I therefore felt it would be appropriate to introduce one of the documentaries made about the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  

The ICTY located, like the ICC, in the Hague, was established by a unanimous Security Council resolution in 1993.  The documentary informs us through a voice over that the Security Council declared the Tribunal resolution just as easily as it declared Srebenica a safe area.   Tracing the development of the Tribunal from its establishment, to its indictment and prosecution of Milosevic, the film interviews judges and prosecutors, including, Richard Goldstone (the first Prosecutor), Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, Louise Arbour and the late Antonio Cassesse.  

There are a number of things I learned from the documentary:

1. The Tribunal at first had no budget with Gabrielle Kirk McDonald stating that the UN gave allotments 'like  you would to a child'.  Goldstone was informed in 1994 that he had to indict someone by 1995 otherwise the funding would be drawn.  Therefore, he indicted the 'small fish' with a pyramid strategy starting at the bottom and working his way up.  Cassesse thought that this was ridiculous.  
2. Louise Arbour set out to change the 'NGO' atmosphere of the Tribunal and instead used her powers to convince States to arrest those wanted by the Tribunal.  By showing that operations could be carried out she wanted to shame SFOR into action. 
3. The raw emotion is well captured in the documentary.  Cassesse speaks of judges having tears down their faces as the witnesses gave their testimony.  
4.  The average sentence handed down by those convicted by the Tribunal is 16 years (this is interesting when compared to Lubanga's sentence of 14 years).  

As part of its information and outreach projects the ICTY makes documentaries about its work.  Another documentary 'Triumph of Justice: The Prosecution of Sexual Violence' will be reviewed later.  
The video and the transcript of the video are available here: 

Its educational and worth watching.  

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