Justice Hassan B. Jallow, made his first official visit to the region of the former Yugoslavia on Wednesday 22 May 2013 in his official capacity as Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia (MICT). Prosecutor Jallow attended the 7th Regional Conference of State Prosecutors of the states that made up the former Yugoslavia on the island of Brijuni in Croatia upon the invitation of the State Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia. Among the participants at the Conference were the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Mr Serge Brammetz, the Chief Prosecutors of Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the State Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Mladen Bajić who opened the Conference and welcomed all the guests including a special welcome to Prosecutor Jallow as Prosecutor of the MICT.

The Conference lasted two days, 22-24 May, during which several issues of cooperation and mutual assistance were discussed. Prosecutor Jallow also briefed the delegates about the work of the ICTY branch of the MICT when it starts operations from 1 July 2013 and the future of cooperation between the MICT and their respective jurisdictions particularly in the areas of request for assistance, access to and sharing of information, and the continuing transfer of technical expertise to support ongoing national prosecutions of the crimes that were committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia during the Balkans war of the 1990s. Prosecutor Jallow informed the delegates that the start of the MICT will mark jurisdictional change but with continuity: he told the delegates that there will be change and continuity and assured them of his continued cooperation and partnership in their joint efforts to end impunity in the region. Prosecutor Jallow also took the opportunity to introduce to the delegates, Ms Tea Polešćuk, who was also attending the Conference as part of the ICTY-OTP team, as the first staff member to be appointed in The Hague branch of the Mechanism OTP. This appointment marked a significant step towards continuity because not only does Ms Tea Polešćuk hail from the region (Croatia) and therefore a familiar face to the delegates, but she was also a former staff member of the ICTY-OTP whose work at the ICTY included the servicing of foreign requests for assistance from national authorities particularly those in the region of the former Yugoslavia.

The Brijuni Conference is an annual event organized in the island of Brijuni in Croatia by the State Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Croatia. It brings together all the Chief Prosecutors and prosecutorial staff of the different states that made up the former Yugoslavia including the hosts Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, and provides them with a forum for open discussions and continuous dialogue about the challenges of cooperation and mutual assistance in the national prosecution of crimes that took place in the territory of the former Yugoslavia during the Balkans war of the 90s. The Prosecutor of the ICTY has also become a regular guest to the Conference and his participation provides an avenue for continuous engagement at the highest levels between the ICTY and the different states of the former Yugoslavia. Other guests also attended the Conference including a representative of the Embassy of the United States in Croatia.

It is to be recalled that Prosecutor Jallow was appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations as Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals following the creation of the Mechanism by the United Nations Security Council pursuant to Resolution 1966 of 2010. The Mechanism will continue with the jurisdiction, rights, obligations and essential functions of the ICTR and ICTY as the two Tribunals move ever closer to completion of their respective mandates and closure. The ICTR branch of the Mechanism started operations on 1 July 2012, and the ICTY branch will commence operations on 1 July 2013.

Prosecutor Jallow was accompanied by his MICT Special Assistant, Mr Abubacarr Tambadou.