UN Prosecutor‘s Double Standards.
By Brian Gallagher 5 October 2005
More information has arisen regarding the case of the
Croatian journalists who have been indicted by UN
prosecutors for disclosing the identity and testimony
of a protected witness in the Blaskic case. (For more
information, please see here:
It transpires that the London based Institute of War
and Peace Reporting has repeatedly disclosed the
identity of the witness; shamefully not mentioned in
their recent reports on the journalists.
It is known that a 1997 decision relating to the
witness has been on the ICTY website for eight years,
identifying the witness. See it here
In relation to reporting to that decision, IWPR
mentioned the name in their Tribunal Update 32 of June
See it here
In regard to that particular affair, the ICTY also
named the witness in their summary of a press briefing
in 2003 on their own website.
See it here (last paragraph)
The IWPR directly named the individual as a witness in
the Blaskic case in its Tribunal Update of 7-11
February 2000. This is of considerable importance as
IWPR named the witness before any of the dates
mentioned in the indictments. Most of the indictments
relate to 2004. However, the indictment against Josip
Jovic is for dates in 2000, the earliest being 27
November. The IWPR disclosure comes some months prior
to that. See it here.
Mirko Klarin, then Senior Editor at IWPR, fully
disclosed the identity in Tribunal Update of 16-21
September, 2002. Klarin specifically states the name
of the witness and that he had testified in the closed
session in the Blaskic trial, and something of the
nature of that testimony. See it here.
Klarin named the witness again in IWPR’s Tribunal
Update of September 30 - October 4, 2002 report on the
Milosevic trial. See it here.
IWPR named the witness again this time written by
Emir Suljagic in Tribunal Update of 23-27 June 2003
See it here.
The witness was named again by IWPR in a piece by
Stacey Sullivan in the 19 December 2003 Tribunal
Update. See it here
A number of the IWPR reports were also placed on the
JUSTWATCH website by Andras Riedlemyer, who has
previously appeared in trials as an expert witness for
the UN Prosecutors.
See them here
Tribunal Update 7-11 February 2000
Tribunal Update 16-21 September, 2002
Tribunal Update September 30 - October 4, 2002
Tribunal Update of 23-27 June 2003
Tribunal Update of 19 December 2003
Recent articles on the indicted journalists by IWPR
have somehow failed to mention that they themselves
repeatedly named the witness. See their latest report
of 30 September by Janet Anderson here
No action has been taken by ICTY prosecutors against
IWPR or their journalists - or indeed JUSTWATCH - for
naming the protected witness.
This raises the most serious questions. How is it that
action was taken against Croatian journalists and not
The Croatian journalists have a strong public interest
defence: A recent article in the New York Times quotes
Prosecution documents as saying the witness is "a
high-ranking politician who holds important state
responsibilities." . If such a politician in the
United Kingdom gave secret testimony at a UN court
against a British soldier the public would certainly
demand to know what was said and by whom. No doubt
the same would apply in the United States. Nobody
would accept protective measures. Why should it be
different in Croatia? Further, the public interest
case is strengthened by the fact that in the Blaskic
case, a miscarriage of justice occurred.
No doubt the Croatian journalists concerned had
political motives for publishing what they did. That
is freedom of speech.
IWPR has presented no explanation or defence
whatsoever for revealing the identity of the witness.
Yet somehow, they have got away with it. And continue
to do so - their reports have been on their website
for years. There is no clear public interest case for
their revealing it.
IWPR is sympathetic to the ICTY. It also is London
based, and part funded by the British taxpayer. No
doubt that is connected to their apparent immunity
Journalists are entitled to be pro ICTY. However,
that does not mean the ICTY should consider them above
the law. Why should these Croatian journalists face
criminal charges and the strain and stress that must
create in their lives, whilst IWPR and its journalists
do not have to face that - despite naming the witness
prior to the dates of the mentioned in the indictments
of the Croats?
It is clear double standards, and the ICTY is
operating on a political basis; those that criticise
it face prosecution for repeating the name of a
protected witness, but those uncritical or even
supportive of the ICTY can do the same thing with
And what of IWPR? Their latest reports on the
situation shamefully fail to mention that they
themselves named the witness repeatedly. What kind of
journalism is that? IWPR’s readers are fully entitled
to that information - yet it was denied to them. Given
that the taxpayer helps pay their wages, it is all the
more appalling. IWPR’s silence is a disgrace.
Of course, given that the witness himself has admitted
for years that he was a witness, the whole issue is
ridiculous. But that has not stopped the UN
prosecutors, led by the much criticised Carla del
Ponte, whose double standards will no doubt be
revealed in excruciating detail by the defendants.
The trial will be very interesting indeed.