UN, Balkan Prosecutors Discuss Cooperation on War Crimes Cases

Posted June 15th, 2011 at 2:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Prosecutors for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have met for the first time with counterparts from six Balkan nations to discuss working together on complex war crimes cases.

Participants in Wednesday's meeting in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, included 20 prosecutors from the judiciaries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The meeting is part of a $6-million War Crimes Justice Project funded by the European Union and fashioned jointly by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the U.N. tribunal.

Organizers say the national and ICTY prosecutors discussed technical issues relating to war crimes cases, such as how criminal code reforms in Balkan states have changed the procedures of such cases. Some of the reforms are required by the European Union as conditions for future membership in the EU.

Participants in the meeting also talked about issues of witness protection and proving criminal liability.

War Crimes Justice Project regional coordinator Romana Schweiger says regular talks between regional prosecutors on legal issues will strengthen ties and complement established mechanisms for cooperation.

The project's outreach officer, Sanela Tunović, tells VOA that a similar meeting will be held later this month in Montenegro involving judges from the region and the U.N. tribunal.