Last week, the Movies that Matter Festival took place in The Hague and celebrated its 10th anniversary. One of the highlights of the Festival was the Master Class by Mr. Serge Brammertz, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Masterclass was organized a day before the ICTY Judgment of war criminal Radovan Karadžić which made the event extra exciting. Mr. Serge Brammertz reflected on the case, the different forces at play in international court cases and the future of international criminal law. He also commented on film fragments selected from the films of this year’s Festival.
The Masterclass was part of a special programme about law and justice, titled ‘Camera Justitia’, which aims to shed light on international law, human rights and the global fight against impunity. The programme is closely connected to the unique position of The Hague as international city of Peace and Justice, where many international organizations operate.
During the Masterclass, Mr. Serge Brammertz spoke about the accomplishments of the ICTY and pointed out that the Tribunal was very fortune since it is currently the only Tribunal with no fugitives at large. The International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) is functioning with eight fugitives at large and the Special Tribunal of Lebanon (STL) functions with all fugitives at large. Mr. Brammertz explains that the ICTY has received strong political support, in part because all countries of the former Yugoslavia have joined or want to join the European Union.In order to become a member of the EU, these states have to fulfill a number of criteria. An important requirement is that they have to fully cooperate with the ICTY. Mr. Brammertz states that this proves that International Justice can only function if there is a clear political agenda pushing forward in the same direction. Furthermore, it also proves that if the international community wants to have fugitives arrested, there needs to be strong international support.
Mr. Brammertz spoke about his personal experience working at the Tribunal and shared with the audience how as a Prosecutor you feel relatively alone in the work you are doing. He remarked that world famous Prosecutor Mr. Benjamin Ferencz, the only living prosecutor from the Nuremberg Tribunal, the first international criminal tribunal, is a source of inspiration for him as well as for many prosecutors in The Hague.
The Masterclass included fragments from films at this years’ Festival such as Der Staat Gegen Fritz Bauer, ‘15 minutes - The Dvor Massacre’ and ‘The Prosecutor, the Defender, the Father and his Son’. The Masterclass soon became interactive with many audience members asking questions to Mr. Brammertz.