Bosnia opens third generation of justice

12 September 2005 by Massimo Moratti and Berber Hettinga

It could be called the third generation of international justice: after the UN's international courts for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda, and the mixed model of Sierra Leone, the newest and most eagerly-awaited experience - outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague - has its headquarters in Sarajevo. The Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) War Crimes Chamber is a semi-international court housed on the premises of the BiH state court, the highest court in the country since the 1995 peace accords. Ten years after the end of the war, the chamber is about to open its first trial on 14 September.

The accused, Boban Simsic, was a member of a paramilitary unit in Visegrad whose commander, Milan Lukic, due to be extradited from Argentina to the ICTY. Simsic gave himself up to European troops based in BiH on 24 January. On 19 July he pleaded not guilty to five counts against him for the imprisonment and ill treatment of Muslim Bosnians, and for looting their possessions. His lawyer asked the court to delay the trial to allow him more time to prepare his case.

Easing pressure on the ICTY

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