War crimes suspects who are using existing legal means, such as a bar to extradition in their home country, to escape justice are more likely to be brought to justice thanks to a new agreement being developed between the Prosecutors Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the War Crimes Prosecutors Office of the Republic of Serbia with the facilitation of the European Union.
Today representatives of the two Prosecutors Offices met in Sarajevo to discuss the final version of the protocol on exchange of information and evidence in war crimes cases, which will soon be signed by both offices. The protocol will allow information and evidence from one country to be provided for a war crimes trial in the other. This means that a person could be tried in their home country for a war crime allegedly committed in the other.
Head of the Delegation of the European Union/EU Special Representative Ambassador Peter Sorensen said:
Nobody should be above the law. Therefore we warmly welcome the conclusion of the talks and the agreement reached on the final draft. In making this important breakthrough, and with the signature of the protocol expected in the coming weeks, a recommendation from the Second EU-BiH Structured Dialogue on Justice will be met.
The European Union is confident that todays agreement represents the final step in a long but constructive process. The talks for reaching this agreement were launched four years ago by Prosecutor Brammertz under the auspices of the then Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn.
This protocol also represents a major step in reinforcing regional cooperation in dealing with war crimes cases and putting concrete procedures in place that will help the process of reconciliation in the Western Balkans.