Justice Richard J. Goldstone
Justice Richard J. Goldstone has been on the Constitutional Court of South Africa since 1994. He served as the first prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, created by the United Nations Security Council in 1993. Justice Goldstone chaired the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation (Goldstone Commission) from 1991 to 1994. He received the International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association in 1994. Most recently, he chaired the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo and is author of For Humanity: Reflections of a War Crimes Investigator, published last year by Yale University Press.
Milosevic’s judicial fate should be considered in three contexts: international, regional, and national. Internationally, the ICTY is part of a general trend of the weakening of national sovereignty since the end of the Second World War. Additionally, there is a legal duty of all countries to cooperate with the Tribunal because it was created by the United Nations Security Council. Regionally, increased Serbian cooperation with the Tribunal and a Milosevic trial should both be understood within the process of democratization in the Balkans. The Yugoslav government’s current indictment fails to acknowledge the regional impact of the Milosevic regime’s crimes. It is unlikely that witnesses from other countries would feel safe coming to Belgrade to testify, and it is unfair to ask them to wait endlessly for justice.
In the national context, the claim that Serbian law does not allow for extradition is not relevant because the Hague tribunal is not a foreign country, but part of the UN system of which Yugoslavia is a member. Continued reiteration of Milosevic’s claim that the ICTY has an anti-Serb bias is misplaced. Three hundred highly professional people from around the world, who would not tolerate political agendas infringing on their work, staff the prosecutor’s office.
The Serbian people’s desire to try Milosevic themselves is understandable, as he committed many crimes against them. But it is also important that Milosevic appear in The Hague. It is possible, however, to have both international and national trials, one following the other. Another option is for ICTY to conduct portions of its trial in Serbia.