Marieluise Beck

Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestags

Letter to the High Rep on Mandate of international Judges at BiH Court

On December 14th, 2009, the mandate of international judges and prosecutors at the Court of Bosnia and Hercegovina will expire. The parlianmentarians of the Republika Srpska refused to extend their mandate. Only the High Representative could renew the mandate by using Bonn Powers. But unfortunately a few European Union member states as members of the Peace Implementation Council refused to support such a measure. That's why some european politicians, NGOs and concerned people wrote a letter to High Representative, Valentin Inzko:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear High Representative Inzko,

The entrenchment of the Rule of Law has been a key focus of the international community’s postwar engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The inclusion of international judges and prosecutors in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, sitting in the special chambers for War Crimes and Organized Crime, are essential components in this effort, as the Chief Prosecutor and President of the Court attested to you and the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) Steering Board last month.  These professionals are required to complement the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as the domestic struggle against organized crime and corruption. Should the international judges and prosecutors not have their mandates renewed by December 14 th , a number of ongoing cases will have to be restarted.  Years of effort toward ensuring justice will have been wasted.

More than half of the international personnel serving in the Court last year have left, uncertain that their contracts would be extended.  Domestic authorities have made no provisions to fund these positions or fill them with Bosnian and Herzegovinian professionals. The result would not only affect a number of ongoing and pending cases in both chambers, but perhaps the viability of the Court of BiH itself. That seems to be precisely the objective of a number of Bosnian politicians, who are wary of investigation and potential prosecution at the Court. 

We the undersigned wish to express our deep concern that most PIC Steering Board members are counseling against extension of these judges’ and prosecutors’ mandates for reasons of political convenience and expediency, wishing to avoid additional friction following the failed “Butmir process” of talks on constitutional reforms.  Such a stance not only threatens to undermine the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but is politically shortsighted as well.  The political conflicts these PIC members hope to avoid will certainly occur in any case - after they have further weakened their own ability to address them by their clear failure to respond on this matter, which is widely recognized as pivotal.

As High Representative, you have the executive authority and moral responsibility to act to protect the Dayton Accords and the achievements of over a decade of efforts to entrench rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  On Human Rights Day, we believe the most significant action towards fulfilling that responsibility would be the imposition of the simple changes to the law that would extend the mandates of the international legal personnel at the State Court for an additional three years. We therefore urge you, in your capacity as High Representative, to take this step.

Sincerely,

SIGNATORIES

Former High Representatives

Dr. Wolfgang Petritsch

Dr. Christian Schwarz-Schilling

International Parliamentarians/Politicians

Marieluise Beck, MP Bundestag, Bündnis90/Grüne, Berlin

Franziska Brantner, MEP, Group of Greens, European Free Alliance

Jelko Kacin, MEP, Liberal Democracy Slovenia, ALDE Group

Cem Özdemir, Co-Chair Bündnis90/Grüne, Berlin

Diana Wallis, MEP, Liberal Democrats Party, ALDE Group

NGOs and Civil Society Organizations/Leaders

ACIPS, Sarajevo

Kurt Bassuener, Democratization Policy Council, Sarajevo

Sonja Biserko, President, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia

Darko Brkan, CA Why not? (UG Zasto ne?), Movement Dosta!, Sarajevo

Dr. Svetlana Broz , Director NGO GARIWO, Sarajevo 

Center for Civic Cooperation, Livno: Zulka Baljak, Managing Director, Kata Marijan Krzelj, Program Manager

Jelena Golubović, Belgrade Center for Human Rights; Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada

Ljuljjeta Goranci Brkić, General Manager, Nansen Dialogue Center, Sarajevo

Mirela Grünther-Đecevic, Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, Head of country office for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo

John W. Heffernan, Director, Speak Truth To Power

Robert F. Kennedy, Center for Justice and Human Rights, Washington, DC

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo

Tim Hughes, former Head of Investigation and Verification Department, Independent Judicial Commission (IJC); Washington, DC

Valerie Hughes, Ireland Action for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dublin, Ireland

Human Rights Centre, University of Sarajevo

Human Rights House of Sarajevo

Biljana Kovačević-Vučo, Chairperson, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM), Belgrade

Branka Magaš and Quintin Hoare, The Bosnian Institute, London

Alma Mašić, Head of Office, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Sarajevo

Andrej Nosov, Heartefact Fund, Belgrade

Zoran Pusić, president of the Civic Committee for Human Rights, Zagreb

Philipp Ruch, Center for Political Beauty, Berlin

Vehid Šehić, President, Citizens' Forum, Tuzla

Mirsad Tokača, Director of the Research and Documentation Center (RDC), Sarajevo

Vesna Terselić, Director, DOCUMENTA – CENTRE FOR DEALING WITH THE PAST, Zagreb

Transparency International, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Peter Julian Walsh, Ireland Action for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greystones, Ireland

Bodo Weber, Democratization Policy Council, Berlin

Justice and Human Rights Professionals/Academia

Vlado Azinović, Ph.D., School of Political Science, University of Sarajevo

Annika Björkdahl, Associate Professor / Docent, Department of Political Science Lund University, Sweden

Tanya L. Domi, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs, Columbia University

Kelly M. Greenhill Assistant Professor, Tufts University and Research Fellow, Harvard University

Jeremy Kinsman, former Canadian Ambassador and High Commissioner, currently Regents’ Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley

Lara Nettelfield, Post Doctoral Fellow, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals; Assistant Professor, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University Vancouver

Ambassador Mark Palmer, former US Ambassador to Hungary

Dr. Olga Martin-Ortega, Senior Research Fellow, Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, University of East London

Andras Riedlmayer, editor of International Justice Watch

Prof. Džemal Sokolović, Institute of Comparative Politics and Rokkan Center for Social Studies, University of Bergen, Norway

Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram, Chair in Human Rights and Director, Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, School of Law University of East London

Iva Vukušić, Sense Agency, The Hague

Jon Western, Ph.D., Five College Associate Professor of International Relations Mount Holyoke College and the Five Colleges, Inc.

Concerned Individuals

Steve Albert, former editor of BosNet, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Neven Anđelić, Birkbeck College, London

Diego E. Arria, former Representative of Venezuela to the UN

Maja Drnda, Barcelona, Spain

Rev. John Feighery, Dublin, Ireland

Marshall Harris, former State Dept official, Alston and Bird LLC, Washington, DC

Ivana Howard, MA in Democracy and Human Rights in SEE, Sarajevo

Zlatko Hurtić (international development expert), Sarajevo

Senada Kreso, Sarajevo

Selma Mustović, New York City, USA

Conor Smith Gaffney, Chicago, Illinois, USA