Alpana Modi (Australia)
The last 24 hours on the ICTY have been highly educational – dining with an interpreter of the ICTY, attending the hearing of Ratko Mladić at the ICTY and having a question and answer session to the IPSI 2015 cohort with the Senior Prosecutor Alan Tieger. Watching part of the case of Ratko Mladić – Colonel general, Commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Republic Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina – we were able to see the positives and negatives of the ICTY in action. As background, Mladić was indicted with two counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity (persecutions, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts) and four counts (murder, terror, unlawful attacks on civilians, taking of hostages). The trial commenced in May 2012 and the prosecution case was closed in February 2014. In July 2014 the Appeals Chamber dismissed the appeal by Mladić’s Defence. The Defence case commenced in May 2014 and IPSI 2015 viewed part of the case today. Watching part of the case today, a strong positive of the ICTY that struck me was that “the ICTY provides an opportunity to see untruths dismantled in real time” as stated by Senior Prosecutor Alan Tieger. The wealth of evidence that the ICTY has in its archives following the 147 proceedings that it has concluded allows for the Office of the Prosecutor to see any holes in the witnesses testimony in ‘real time’.
Having the fortunate opportunity to dine with Adisa Karamuratovic, an interpreter at the ICTY, I learnt the difficulties that interpreters face both professionally and personally, through listening to first hand experiences. One of the inspiring anecdotes that Adisa shared was that despite the anguish and pain that is felt through interpreting a victim’s story of their abuse in a camp, she still feels a sense of positivity and inspiration attending the ICTY for work everyday, as she knows the fact-finding work of the ICTY is a positive step to peace.
A question and answer session by Senior Prosecutor Alan Tieger provided a unique opportunity to the IPSI 2015 cohort to delve into the court proceedings of the ICTY from the Office of the Prosecutors perspective. An interesting observation from the Mladić case was the questioning by the Judge of the witness. Insights from Tieger on the hybrid system of the court – with adversarial and civil elements of court proceedings – shone light on this dynamic.
The last twenty four hours have shone light on how the “the Tribunal irreversibly changed the landscape of international humanitarian law”. Senior Prosecutor Alan Tieger told us that it was “heart warming to see this level of interest in the ICTY and in international humanitarian law”.