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After Milosevic-- Can there be Justice?
Mar-14-06 08:52 am
Earlier today, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) formally closed the case against Slobodan Milosevic. Undoubtedly, there is much frustration on the part of the victims and survivors of the actions of Milosevic and his regime.  As the President of the Tribunal noted on Sunday: "It is extremely unfortunate that the victims and their families will not have a final answer in this case on the criminal responsibility of the accused."

So what now? With the death of the person who perhaps most symbolized the horrific acts of the regime, how can some form of justice be achieved?

There seem to be several ways to proceed. Here are a couple of possibilities:

First, current and subsequent trials may be able to bring to light much of the crimes. At present, there are still several other defendants on trial in the Hague. And Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic-- also significant symbols of the crimes in the Balkans-- remain under at large. If they were to be captured and brought to trial, their proceedings could make a significant contribution to disclosing the facts.

Second, there could be a special commission-- either established by the United Nations Security Council or even the government of Serbia. Thic commission  would be charged with investigating and fact finding connected to the actions of Milosevic. While such a commission is far removed from an actual trial and a conviction, it may be able to provide a formal record and establish a chronology of criminal activity. Needless to say, such commission must be composed of jurist and others of the highest integrity and respect within both the area and the international community.

Of course, neither of these options may ultimately satisfy the victims and their families. But just as the world was able to see the enormity of the crimes of Adolf Hitler-- despite his death-- so it can be hoped that in time, the international community will fully understand the truth about Milosevic and his collaborators.

About the editor:

Anthony Clark Arend

Professor

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.

» Contact the editor



» Learn more about the M.A. in International Law and Government at Georgetown University.


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