Special Report: ICTY couldn’t prove genocide charge against Milosevic

Special Report

The day Del Ponte acknowledged that the ICTY had not proven genocide against Slobodan Milosevic

On 26 February 2004 Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, gave interviews to The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and others in which she conceded that the ICTY had not produced “the smoking gun” to convict the former Yugoslav president of genocide, the most serious charge against him. 

She told the Boston Globe “I know that I don’t have the smoking gun on the count of genocide, and we will see what the trial chamber decides.  The facts are not in dispute by us. We can prove the facts, but genocide needs a specific intent, a subjective element, and it is very difficult to prove.” 

In flagrant breach of fundamental legal standards, the ICTY had indicted Milosevic before any evidence had been gathered against him.  It was their invariable but indefensible practice.  Their objective was purely political – to stop Milosevic taking part in the Rambouillet conference.  By the time the Milosevic case came top court on 12 February 2002, some three years after his indictment, they still had no evidence.  The next two years were spent hearing endless unsupported witness accounts from anonymous ’eyewitnesses’ and seeking unsuccessfully to extract damaging testimony from anyone they thought might be a helpful source.  When del Ponte admitted there was no ‘smoking gun’ she might as well have admitted that they hadn’t laid a glove on Milosevic at any point during the endless prosecution case.

Lead prosecutor Geoffrey Nice was clearly relieved when Milosevic’s death brought the trial to an end without a verdict.  This spared him the acute embarrassment of failing to make a case after the longest prosecution in history:


Carla del Ponte’s boast “we can prove the facts” was the ICTY’s greatest deception.  Their idea of a proven fact was highly novel:  for instance, the organisation in charge of the ICTY’s forensic and DNA work, the International Commission for Missing Persons, never disclosed its primary evidence to defendants or their legal teams because laws had been passed in Bosnia (1998) and Croatia (2002) to give it complete immunity to refuse any request.  As a result, all their hard evidence was delivered in reported form only – effectively as hearsay.  The truth is that the ICTY never proved anything in any of its trials, it just pretended that it had.

See Boston Post  

and Los Angeles Times