War crime strategy on hold again

10. November 2008.00:00
Representatives of the war crime strategy preparation working group do not want to speak about what will happen now that a working group member has resigned.

After the President of the State Court resigned from her position as a member of the Working Group, the further course of the preparation of this strategy is now under question. The strategy was due to be finalised by November 21, when the Peace Implementation Council will have its next session.

The Working Group has been involved in the preparation of this strategy since its establishment in July 2007. The Group was established by the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of a decision rendered by the Council of Ministers. It is not known to the public in what stage the activities of this Group are at the moment.

Among other things, the War Crimes Processing Strategy is supposed to define how many staff members and financial and other resources are needed by the judicial and police institutions at the entity and state levels in order to process the large number of war crime cases within a reasonable time frame. It is also expected to define how many cases shall be processed before local judiciary organs and when those cases can all be resolved.

Justice Report tried to get a response on whether it was possible to continue working on the preparation of the Draft War Crimes Strategy in the absence of a representative of the State Court but the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the State Prosecution, whose Chief Prosecutor heads the Working Group, and the Court officials were not ready to talk.

“We can not make any statements concerning the Draft War Crimes Processing Strategy. The State Prosecution is responsible for that,” said Marina Bakic, spokes person of the State Justice Ministry.

Boris Grubesic, spokes person of the State Prosecution, told us that Milorad Barasin, Acting Chief Prosecutor, “will be able to answer our questions in the course of next week, as he is now having some meetings”.

According to media reports, submitting her resignation, Kreso said that, “considering the constant blockages, it is not possible to work and produce a good quality document, which will form the basis for all future war crime trials”.

As reported by media, Kreso resigned for “principled and moral reasons”.

According to earlier Justice Report texts, the Group has been reviewing two different drafts of the strategy since this summer. One of them was written by the Court President, while the other was made by David Schwendiman, Chief of the War Crimes Section with the State Prosecution. Both versions can be found at http://www.bim.ba/en/132/10/12953/ and http://www.bim.ba/en/130/10/12731/

The Working Group consists of representatives of the State Prosecution, State Court, High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of Security, State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, entity ministries of justice and finance, as well as Brcko District judiciary.