Background Briefing


War crimes investigation requirements differ from those of ordinary crimes. In particular, investigators must travel in order to collect evidence at crime scenes in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. The initial court budget did not contemplate the need to conduct investigations outside Serbia.79 The original budget was supplemented by grants from the US government and from the Open Society Institute, which provided money for public information activities.80 In 2006 the annual budget was raised to €450,000. However, the current budget amount still constrains the prosecutor’s ability to conduct broader investigations in the field (though the prosecutor considers it an improvement over previous years).81 It is also not enough to enable him to hire a sufficient number of legal associates.

(The increased budget includes €50,000 for the Mladic Task Force, an inter-agency body headed by the war crimes prosecutor, Vladmir Vukcevic, that is charged with implementing the “Mladic Action Plan” for the capture and transfer of the indicted war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic. Serbia launched the Action Plan in July 2006 to demonstrate its commitment to cooperating with the ICTY in an effort to restart stalled European Union association talks.)

79 Human Rights Watch interviews with War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office staff and with Ivan Jovanovic, Belgrade, March 30, 2007.

80 Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Sonja Prostran, May 24, 2007.

81 Human Rights Watch interview with War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office staff, Belgrade, March 30, 2007.