Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Srebrenica Victims Angry At Acquittals

This week, Bosnia's top war crimes court convicted Mladen Blagojevic for inhumane treatment of prisoners, but acquitted three others accused of participating in the Srebrenica massacre for lack of evidence. The acquittals have drawn ire from victims' groups:

"“This is a disgrace. While we are looking at mass graves all day long, verdicts like this are made. I'm very unsatisfied with the Bosnian courts,” Sabra Kolenovic, a member of the Mothers of Srebrenica group, told IWPR."
However they may feel, this is a triumph for Bosnian rule of law. These verdicts came not from the international tribunal in the Hague, but from Bosnia's national courts. When Bosnia's government took over war crimes trials of not-so-big-fish accused of crimes during the war, there were questions as to whether a post-war government could provide genuine justice over men accused of participating in atrocity.

The courts' refusal to consider the defendants guilty until proven innocent, despite the emotional needs of and political pressure by those who lost loved ones, is both consistent with international standards of due process, and likely to contribute to the courts' legitimacy over time.


hank_F_M said...

Is any one going to prosecute those who gave orders to the Dutch Battalion not to protect those who were supposed to be protected?


Boris Grubesic, spokesman for the prosecutors’ office, told IWPR that prosecutors disagreed with the verdict and they would definitely launch an appeal.

At least poor Salim Hamden was tried in a court that recognizes an effective prohibition on Double Jeopardy. But the Bosnians are using the same standard as the ICC (art 81)so it is the international standard of due process.

Charli Carpenter said...

Well, the entire Dutch government resigned their jobs at one point over that one...

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