Those indicted by the ICTY should serve their sentence in countries where war criminals are not considered heroes

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) believes that the proposal made by Carla del Ponte, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), supported by Vladimir Vukčević, Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecutor, Rasim Ljajić, president of the National Council for the Cooperation with ICTY, and Vojislav Koštunica, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia to create conditions for those indicted by the ICTY in the future to serve their prison sentences in countries of their citizenship is still premature.

HLC agrees with Carla del Ponte that the situation in countries formed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia has changed for the better, which resulted in the transfer of a number of cases from the ICTY to domestic courts. However, Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte is overseeing the fact that Ratko Mladić and other ICTY fugitives, as well as those indicted by the ICTY are perceived by a significant part of Serbian public as heroes and victims of international injustice. They enjoy the support of Serbian institutions, prisons being a part of them. The case of Radovan Stanković (a Serb), who has recently escaped a prison in Foča (Republika Srpska) with the help of a prison guard (a Serb), points to the fact that authorities are not able to control “emotions” of their employees when it comes to those indicted for war crimes. Sixteen Serbs indicted for war crimes committed in Kosovo in 1999 escaped the prison in Kosovska Mitrovica and fled to Serbia. They are still free men in Serbia. That is another reason why those indicted by the ICTY should serve their prison sentences in countries where they will be considered war criminals and not heroes.