What did the Tribunal’s president Theodor Meron complain about in a SENSE Agency report on the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia?

Theodor Meron, president of the TribunalTheodor Meron, president of the Tribunal

At the moment when the leading media outlets, such as the New York Times and The Economist in London, have been forced to conclude with regret that the Tribunal’s credibility has been shattered beyond repair, the Tribunal’s President Theodor Meron brought to our attention an error in the SENSE Agency’s report on the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

In our report we noted that Chief Prosecutor Brammertz was the only speaker to mention the victims of the war crimes and justice for the survivors. President Meron claims it is not true, and has advised us to watch the recording of his speech on YouTube. We have watched it and indeed, we are in the wrong: President Meron did indeed mention the victims once in his speech. At the end of a rather long list of organizations and countries the Tribunal owes its gratitude (the Security Council, the Dutch government, the international community headed by the EU and USA…), President Meron “paid a tribute to the witnesses and victims who stepped forward to give evidence”.

Although we don’t consider that reducing the victims to mere instruments used to convey evidence or serve the judicial process is the most appropriate way of bringing their role to the fore at a ceremony hailing the institution established to give them a ‘measure of justice’, we do apologize to President Meron for our mistake.

This, however, doesn’t change the conclusion of our report: that the 20th anniversary ceremony was marked by a ‘glaring absence of the representatives of the associations of victims for whom the Tribunal was established in the first place’.