This year, December 10, 2007 is a day of many important deadlines. Not only is it the day the independence of Kosovo is said to be decided, but it is also the date by which the handover of Ratko Mladic to the ICTY is supposed to occur. Both of these could prove to be fateful days in the history of Southeastern Europe, or they could fall through the cracks of history as just another failed deadline.
The ICTY is a United Nations-created body established to prosecute serious crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia from 1991-1996. It is unable to try organizations or governments, only individuals, and its maximum sentence is life imprisonment. Its main targets are individuals responsible for persecution of Bosnian Muslim and Croat civilians on national, political, and religious grounds; those who have targeted political leaders, intellectuals, and professionals; the unlawful deportation and shelling of civilians; as well as the destruction of homes, businesses, and places of worship. The most important thing “about prosecuting war crimes is not to get the individuals who may have committed those crimes – the lowly soldiers, thugs, paramilitary types of police officers – but to get the most senior political and military leadership responsible for having ordered those crimes” (Paul Risley, spokesman).
[...] The magnitude of the failures of the ICTY can be seen in its implications for the International Organizations involved as well as the republics. For the republics, who are held to the utmost cooperation with the ICTY and which have not given their full cooperation hangs in the balance the question of integration into the European Union. The EU has said it will not consider the republics until full cooperation with the court is evident. This question of membership conditionality is covered by both Judith Goldstein and Judith Kelley. [...]
[...] The ICTY has been ineffective due to its perceived illegitimate origins, its lack of power teeth”) and inability to deliver its mission which carries strong implications for the republics as well as international organizations involved. The ICTY, even though it has seen 161 individuals indicted, has failed to bring justice in Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia, and failed to make much of a difference we still largely see an unwillingness to cooperate with this court which shows the lack of belief in the court among the local governments and the local population. [...]
[...] The failure of ICTY to make sufficient change in ex-Yugoslavia is also taken as an example of international apathy to human rights issues. The U.N. and the international community have been accused of appeasement, apathy, and inaction in past cases. Its failure can also be a signal to other leaders, almost a green light on carrying out human rights abusive regimes without fear of being reprimanded because of the inability of these international regimes. We have already seen multiple ICTY-set deadlines for the capture of the accused, especially Karadzic and Mladic and each deadline keeps getting pushed back. [...]
[...] Another reason for the ineffectiveness of the ICTY comes from its lack of power, what has been called having teeth.” The ICTY has no police force which makes it wholly dependent on NATO, its largest financier, other International Organizations such as the O.S.C.E., and the complete cooperation of the republics. The problem with relying on the republics is that their own police forces are found to be incapable, underfinanced, corrupt, and in many cases they are found to be biased. [...]
[...] The ICTY's ineffectiveness stems from its perceived illegitimate origins, powerlessness and inability to deliver, which is exhibited by the implications for the success or failure of this organization for the states as well as the international organizations involved. The very origins of the ICTY are still being viewed as illegitimate and therefore all the sentences the court carries out are groundless. The very region that this court is focused on does not believe that the ICTY is working in their favor. [...]
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