The International Tribunal and Beyond: Pursuing Justice for Atrocities in the Western Balkans
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission) for a joint briefing on the state of accountability for atrocities committed during the 1990s wars in the western Balkans, as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) completes its mandate.
Between 1991 and 2001 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, made up of six republics, was broken apart by a series of brutal armed conflicts. The conflicts were characterized by widespread and flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, among them mass killings of civilians, the massive, organized and systematic detention and rape of women, torture, and practices of ethnic cleansing, including forced displacement.
In 1992 the U.N. established a Commission of Experts that documented the horrific crimes on the ground and led to the 1993 creation of the ICTY. This month, after more than two decades of persistent, ground-breaking efforts to prosecute the individuals responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in the former Yugoslavia, the ICTY is concluding its work. As it prepares to close its doors, this briefing will assess the tribunal’s achievements and limitations, and most importantly, what still needs to be done by the countries of the region to seek justice in outstanding cases, bring greater closure to victims, and foster greater reconciliation among peoples.
Panelists will discuss these questions and suggest ways that the United States, Europe and the international community as a whole can encourage the further pursuit of justice in the Western Balkans.
This briefing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-226-6379 or Kimberly.Stanton@mail.house.gov or Matthew Singer (for Mr. Hultgren) at (202-226-3989) or Matthew.Singer@mail.house.gov or Bob Hand of the Helsinki Commission staff at Robert.Hand@mail.house.gov or 202-225-1901.
Chairman, Helsinki Commission
Rep. Randy Hultgren, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
Rep. Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Nemanja Stjepanovic, Humanitarian Law Fund (from Belgrade, Serbia, live via video)
Diane Orentllicher, Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, American University
Robert Hand, Policy Advisor, U.S. Helsinki Commission