As the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) approaches the end of its “completion strategy”, the impetus to harness its institutional expertise and make it available to legal professionals in the former Yugoslavia handling war crimes (ICHL)1 cases becomes increasingly important. In order to understand how such “knowledge transfer” can be most effectively undertaken during the remaining life of the ICTY, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR)2, the ICTY, and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)3 – supported substantially by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut – initiated this project with the overall goal of identifying best practices in the knowledge-transfer arena so as to improve greatly the delivery of future professional, developmental and capacity-building programmes.
To achieve the above-stated aim, the project partners adopted a four-component research process that combined a critical examination of past efforts with a current assessment of the needs of legal professionals in the region. Those two components gave rise to a set of “best practices”, i.e., knowledge-transfer techniques and methodologies with a successful track record in delivering their subject matter. The research also generated several means to improve existing knowledge-transfer practices as well as a number of innovative methodologies. These latter practices do not necessarily boast a record of success – precluding them from being labelled “best practices” – but their inclusion in this report suggests a credible potential for enhancing future knowledge-transfer undertakings. In addition to the established “best practices” and the suggested improvements, the Report includes a wide range of ecommendations (Section V). Set out in order of priority, these recommendations match the best practices with the needs identified during the assessment.
They describe the context and means of employing the best practices in order to rectify the identified shortcomings.
A Research Team hired by ODIHR prepared this Final Report on behalf of the organizations of the project partners.4 The report is the culmination of the aforementioned multi-stage research endeavour, which included an Expert Workshop in The Hague in October of 2008, field interviews in five jurisdictions,5 an Interim Report and a Regional Workshop in Sarajevo in May of 2009, where the Interim Report and its preliminary findings were discussed with local practitioners.
Given that the judicial system in any jurisdiction is manifestly broad and complex – as are the core international crimes themselves – the Research Team chose to focus its efforts on several distinct functions performed by different actors in the justice system. More specifically, the team identified the following seven areas that were comprehensively explored during the research process:
- Knowledge and application of ICHL in the domestic legal context;
- Investigations and Analysis;
- Trial and Appellate Adjudication;
- Outreach; and
- Victim and Witness Support.
The first of these areas is not given separate treatment in the text but, instead, is woven into the discussion of the other six.