Troubled Tribunal fails again
As the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) winds down its two-decade mission of attempting to deliver justice for the Balkan wars of the 1990s, even its defenders are left wondering what it was for in the first place. Last fall, two of Croatia’s top generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, who had been convicted by the ICTY on extensive war-crimes charges relating to Croatia’s 1995 victory offensive, were acquitted on appeal and went home free men. Four months later the same happened to Momcilo Perisic, who was Serbia’s top general through the worst of the 1990s: convicted on numerous counts, he went home on appeal.
While these outcomes at least offered the possibility of reconciliation, since they freed Croatian and Serbian generals alike, there was much bewilderment as to how the ICTY, which had spent years, millions of man-hours and Euros on these high-profile cases, managed to lose them entirely on appeal. Doubts rose to the level that in April when, over the protests of the U.S. government, the United Nations General Assembly hosted a one-day public examinationof just how effective the UN’s justice and reconciliation efforts actually have been. (The meeting came at the request of General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, Belgrade’s former foreign minister)
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