On 20 and 21 September 2021, the Office of the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor hosted a high-level meeting of regional prosecutors on cooperation in war crimes cases.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the following: Office of the Croatian State Prosecutor; Office of the BH Prosecutor; Prosecution Services of BH Federation, Republic of Srpska and Brčko District; Office of the Special State Prosecutor of Montenegro; and Office of the Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT). The meeting was summoned and organised in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the UK Government.
This year's regional conference was held on the 30th anniversary of the outbreak of initial clashes in the former Yugoslavia. The conference participants were unanimous about the fact that the lapse of time was one of the greatest challenges in the prosecution of war crimes. The participants also agreed that resolving the accumulated caseload in this area called for decisive action, with more effective regional cooperation being of key importance in meeting the expectations of many victims who were still awaiting justice. It was noted that regional cooperation in war crimes cases was not on a satisfactory level and that the well-known issues underlying such cooperation could be overcome through a more proactive, open and determined approach. It was emphasised that transparency, mutual trust, as well as prompt response to letters rogatory and other requests for assistance were key elements of effective regional cooperation. Once again, the prosecutors highlighted their firm commitment to bringing all war criminals to justice irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds.