The ICTY is comprised of three main branches, the Chamber (Judges), the Registry and the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). The OTP is also divided into three sections, the Immediate Office, the Trial Division and the Appeals Division. I am one of four interns current working in the Immediate Office of the Prosecutor. The Immediate Office is responsible for the overall management of the Prosecutor’s Office as well as formulating policies, dealing with issues relevant to obtaining the cooperation of states, transferring cases to the former Yugoslavia and other capacity building efforts with the region and preparing the OTP budget and other reports for submission to the United Nations.
The OTP is headed by a Prosecutor who is appointed by the Security Council for a renewable term of four-years. The Prosecutor is independent and does not seek or receive instructions from external agencies. The Prosecutor’s role is to investigate crimes and to present cases at trial. Various UN Security Council resolutions and the Tribunal’s Statute mean that UN member-states are under an obligation to cooperate with the OTP’s investigations and prosecutions. The Tribunal’s final indictments were issued in 2004 and in 2011, after many years on the run, the two remaining fugitives, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić were transferred to The Hague to face trial. This means none of the 161 individuals indicted by the Tribunal remain at large.
The current Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz was appointed by the United Nations Security Council on 28 November 2007 and was re-appointed to this role on 14 September 2011. Dr Brammertz has more than a decade of experience investigating and prosecuting international crimes. In 2006, he was appointed Commissioner of the United Nations Independent Investigation Commission into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and in 2003 he was elected by the Assembly of State Parties as the first Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Prior to these international appointments, Dr Brammertz was a national magistrate and then head of the Federal Prosecution of the Kingdom of Belgium. Dr Brammertz is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Prosecutors and he has published and lectured widely on the investigation and prosecution of complex crimes.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to undertake my internship in the Immediate Office of the Prosecutor where I am learning not only about the legal mechanisms used to hold perpetrators of war crimes to account but also about the OTP’s engagement with governments in the region of the former Yugoslavia and the United Nations.