Slobodan Milošević died a few months before the
end of his trial. There were no closing arguments and there was no
judgment by the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia - the ICTY.
Geoffrey Nice had been preparing closing arguments as the case proceeded and
will explain what some of them were. Would those arguments have
suggested Milošević was a deranged political dictator or merely a politician
seduced by events to make bad - criminal - decisions? How should a
prosecution craft its arguments about a single individual on trial for
events that happened in a grave conflict without running the risk of
'over-prosecution'? How can four years of a trial focused on one
individual avoid distortion of the complex political, military and
historical realities which made mass atrocities possible?
Milošević's case concluded, would arguments of the Prosecution and
judgments of the court have depicted a man so different from how we see
ourselves and how we see 'ordinary' political leaders that the trial would
have achieved little beyond achieving some retribution, some deterrence
and bringing some resolution for survivors and bereaved? Or might the
trial have been seen as a warning for those other 'ordinary' political
leaders of how easy it is for political power to lead astray and corrupt
those who might, in other circumstances, have ended their lives honourably
- all showing how valuable may be the mechanisms - of democracy or
otherwise - that allow us to restrain bad leaders before they get worse.
For all download and transcript versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: The End of Slobodan Milošević
Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Gresham Professor of Law, has
practised as a barrister since 1971. He worked at the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006
and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia.
Much of his work since has been connected to cases before the permanent
International Criminal Court – Sudan, Kenya, Libya – or pro
victims groups – Iran, Burma, North Korea – whose cases cannot get to any
international court. He works for several related NGO’s and lectures and
commentates in the media in various countries on international war crimes
issues. He has been a part-time judge since 1984 sitting at the Old
Bailey and has sat as judge in other jurisdictions, tribunals and
inquiries. Since 2009 he has been Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board,
the body that regulates barristers.
first five of his 2012-13 lectures asGresham Professor of Lawwill deal with issues arising from the
work of international criminal courts and tribunals. The sixth will
contrast the practice of law in international criminal courts where there is
little or no effective regulation of lawyers and judges with the present
working practices of the English Bar, on which he can reflect in light of his
long experience generally and his recent experience as a regulator.