Serge Brammertz appointed prosecutor for UN’s Balkan war crimes tribunal
The Security Council today approved the appointment of Serge Brammertz, currently leading the independent probe of the 2005 killing of a former Lebanese prime minister, as the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for a four-year term starting on 1 January.
In a resolution adopted unanimously this morning, Council members noted that the ICTY completion strategy calls for the court – which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands – to do its best to complete all trials at first instance by the end of next year and all work, including appeals, by 2010.
The four-year term of Mr. Brammertz, who is Belgian, could therefore be terminated earlier by the Council if the ICTY is able to complete all of its work.
Mr. Brammertz will replace Carla Del Ponte as ICTY Prosecutor. Ms. Del Ponte and ICTY President Judge Fausto Pocar issued a joint statement today welcoming the appointment and noting Mr. Brammertz’s long experience as a lawyer in tackling organized crime, global terrorism, corruption and other issues. He becomes the Tribunal’s fifth prosecutor, following Ms. Del Ponte (Switzerland), Louise Arbour (Canada), Richard Goldstone (South Africa) and Ramon Escovar Salem (Venezuela).
Since early 2006, Mr. Brammertz has served as Commissioner of the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) examining the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and other killings in the country. Earlier this month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced plans to appoint Daniel Bellemare of Canada to replace Mr. Brammertz.
In April 2005 the Council set up the IIIC after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the Hariri assassination was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. Mr. Hariri died in a massive car bombing in Beirut in February 2005 that also took the lives of 22 others.
Mr. Brammertz told the Council last year that evidence obtained so far suggests that a young, male suicide bomber, probably non-Lebanese, detonated up to 1,800 kilograms of explosives inside a van to assassinate Mr. Hariri. The IIIC is also probing at least 17 other cases in Lebanon.
This year Mr. Ban began taking measures to formally establish a special tribunal of an “international character” to try the suspected killers of Mr. Hariri, and possibly those responsible for the subsequent assassinations in Lebanon as well.
Today Mr. Ban sent the latest report of the IIIC, in which it provides an overview of its most recent progress and details of measures taken to prepare for a handover to a special tribunal, to Council members.