Arbour raised bar for prosecuting war crimes, book says


A Canadian prosecutor was instrumental in raising the profile of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia from relative obscurity to the most effective international criminal court ever, says a University of Toronto law professor.

Louise Arbour, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Ontario and the tribunal's chief prosecutor during the late 1990s, worked to bring to trial former Serbian and Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic and many other government officials accused of complicity in crimes against humanity.

"What Arbour did so well was to draw on the strengths of the prosecutors she worked with and get the co-operation of the judges to make this tribunal operate really effectively," says John Hagan, author of Justice in the Balkans: Prosecuting War Crimes in The Hague Tribunal (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

Hagan surveyed and interviewed more than 100 employees at the tribunal's office in The Hague over five years including crime and military analysts, and historians. His findings provide a glimpse into the inner workings of the tribunal since its inception in 1993. The book also focuses on the many investigations not covered by the media.

"These investigators and the work they did are remarkable but often the media didn't follow the story in any great depth so the stories remain untold." The book, released this month, was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the American Bar Association and the National Science Foundation.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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