Bosnia, the overachieving student

17 December 2007 by Emmanuel Chicon

Ever since its first hearings in September 2005, the War Crimes Chamber in Bosnia-Herzegovina, based in Sarajevo, has been running at full steam. With the December 14 opening of the trial of Nisvet Gasal and Musajb Kukavica, two former Bosnian soldiers accused of running a concentration camp for nearly 300 Croats, this court is now carrying out 15 trials against 37 individuals from all sides of the conflict. The Chamber is heir to the ICTY, which has already transferred nine defendants to its jurisdiction.

Two years after getting down to work, this mixed national-international court, which operates within the State Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is doing a fairly impressive job. A total of 76 people are currently being prosecuted by this chamber. The young institution is also hearing the most important group trial for genocide currently being held in the world, that of 11 Bosnian Serbs who operated in the Srebrenica region. "When we started talking about a local court that would pick up the cases transferred by the ICTY, the Bosnians were really skeptical," says Nerma Jelacic, national director of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), which is covering the trial before this chamber. "But this has really exceeded our expectations," she adds.

"When we started talking about a local court that would pick up the cases transferred by the ICTY, the Bosnians were really skeptical. But this has really exceeded our expectations," says Nerma Jelacic, national director of BIRN

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