Weighing the Evidence. Lessons from the Slobodan Milosevic Trial

TitleWeighing the Evidence. Lessons from the Slobodan Milosevic Trial
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleReport by Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsDarehshori, S
VolumeVolume 18, No. 10 (D)
Number of Pages82 pp.
PublisherHuman Rights Watch (HRW)
Accession Number715

The arrest and surrender of Slobodan Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was a watershed moment for justice. It was an event many never thought would happen. After such high expectations, Milosevic's death on March 11, 2006, was an unfortunate end to the \"trial of the century\": the victims of the horrific crimes in the former Yugoslavia were deprived of a verdict. Furthermore, though the length and conduct of the trial proceedings had already raised concerns, Milosevic\'s death ignited a round of criticism about the efficiency and viability of these trials, criticism seen by many as a setback for international criminal courts.Although Milosevic\'s death denies the victims a final judgment, this should not overshadow the trial\'s broader accomplishments. As the first former president brought before an international criminal tribunal, Milosevic\'s trial marked the end of the era when being a head of state meant immunity from prosecution. Evidence was introduced at trial that shed light on how the wars were conducted. No other trial will present as comprehensive an account of Serbia\'s role in the conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo as Milosevic\'s did. Human Rights Watch believes the evidence introduced in the Milosevic trial should shape how current and future generations assess the conflicts. In addition, the court faced many novel procedural and courtroom management challenges. How the Trial Chamber handled these issues, and how the prosecution prepared its case, provide lessons that will be useful references in future trials of this scope.

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