The former ICTY prosecutor also emphasized the importance of evidence such as videos, images, and newspaper clippings
Citing the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, former prosecutor of the International Crime Tribunal of Yugoslavia (ICTY) Nicole Janisiewicz has said international justice requires persistence and time.
She made the comment during a public lecture at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka on Monday, titled “Prosecuting genocide: Experiences of the ICTY.” The public lecture is a part of week-long programs organized by the museum to celebrate its 23rd anniversary, as well as Independence Day on March 26.
“You are dealing with the consequences of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar territory. The first lesson from the ICTY is that international justice requires persistence and time,” Janisiewicz said.
Discussing the trial process of the case against convicted war criminal and former president of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadžić, she said: “The indictment was filed against Karadžić on July 24, 1995, but he was not arrested until 2008. The opening statement in the case was delivered in 2009, and closing arguments at the end of 2014. The trial tribunal judgment was delivered on March 24, 2016, and the judgment on the appeal on March 20 this year.
“Karadžić was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment by the trial tribunal, but the appeal verdict was life imprisonment. We had to wait 24 years for the judgment after the trial process began,” Janisiewicz added.
The former ICTY prosecutor also emphasized the importance of evidence such as videos, images, and newspaper clippings.
“Evidence of links to war crimes is important, as high officials who are accused will often say they know nothing about the crimes and that they were perpetrated by field level officials. The prosecution has to make sure to prove the link between the leader or commander-in-chief and the official who executed the crime in the field,” she said, mentioning that the prosecution’s appeal against Karadžić’s acquittal on the charge of genocide in 20 Bosnian municipalities was rejected by the panel of judges, as prosecutors could not prove that the massacres should be classified as genocide.