Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was in Brussels on 20 April at a conference organised by the Belgian Association for the UN, the Egmont, Royal institute for International Relations and the UN Regional Information Centre.
The topic of his address was “Challenges facing international criminal investigations”.
Mr. Brammertz has been focusing on this subject since 2003. First as a Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, then as head of the International Investigation Commission investigating the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and currently as Prosecutor at the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He also worked over 15 years as a Magistrate in Belgium. In the various positions he held, he was responsible, as prosecutor, for carrying out investigations at the local and international level in the context of organised crime.
Mr. Brammertz gave an overview of past achievements: “It is impressive how quickly international criminal law has developed in the past two decades.
The international legal system was shaped at an increasingly fast pace, based on the notion that perpetrators of serious crimes must not remain unpunished, and that there can be no peace without justice.”
Today, international justice is omnipresent. Referring to situations at the ICTY and other international investigation bodies and courts, Mr. Brammertz spoke about concrete challenges for international investigations and prosecutions, such as obtaining evidence, access to the crime scene, securing witness testimony and cooperation with States, which is critical.
Although international justice has made phenomenal progress over the past years, it continues to be challenged in many areas. Today, and for future generations, support for international justice will remain crucial. “In the long term, there can be no lasting peace unless the problem of impunity is tackled”, he said.