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Tim Waters
IU Maurer School of Law

Ken Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010

Key figures of Milosevic trial to convene at IU Maurer School of Law through Sunday

Feb. 19, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- It has been four years since the longest and most prominent war crimes trial of the modern era was brought to an abrupt halt by the death of the defendant: Slobodan Milosevic. The death of Milosevic, and the resulting termination of his trial on charges of war crimes, left the court, the people of the former Yugoslavia, and the world community without a definitive legal resolution.

Timothy Waters

For the first time since Milosevic's death in 2006, key figures from the trial, international law scholars, and experts on or from the former Yugoslavia will convene at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law to discuss the contested outcomes of the criminal proceedings in "The Milosevic Trial: An Autopsy." The conference begins today (Feb. 19) and concludes Sunday (Feb. 21) afternoon.

"I have long been interested in this trial -- I worked on the Kosovo indictment phase and followed it until it ended in 2006," said Law Professor Timothy Waters, who is organizing the conference. "I think what I find most interesting is the fact that this clearly was going to be the most important trial, the ICTY's capstone case, and when it ended, there was this tremendous ambiguity: what does the trial mean? What has happened to the impact the trial was supposed to have?"

Those unanswered questions will be examined by a number of individuals who had significant ties to the case and the region. Some of the confirmed participants include:

  • Zdenko Tomanovic, Milosevic's legal adviser throughout the trial, the first lawyer Milosevic consulted after his extradition and the last to see Milosevic alive
  • Marko Prelec, director of the Balkans Project for the International Crisis Group and the senior researcher on the Milosevic trial in the Office of the Prosecutor from 2002 through 2004
  • Kevin Jon Heller of Melbourne Law School, a Human Rights Watch adviser on the trial of Saddam Hussein and one of Radovan Karadzic's court-appointed legal associates at the ICTY
  • Florence Hartmann, the former ICTY/ICTR chief prosecutor's spokesperson and Balkan adviser
  • Veton Surroi, prominent journalist and politician, founder of KOHA Ditore and member of the negotiating team for Kosovo's independence.

"I'm very pleased that we have an extraordinary diversity of viewpoints -- strong defenders of the trial and the prosecution's strategy, equally strong critics of it, and advocates and skeptics of international law," Waters said. "We wanted to bring varying perspectives together in a coherent, productive discussion that addresses the trial's legacy for the Balkans and for international criminal law in other contexts."

The conference is open to members of the IU community and others by invitation, but seating is extremely limited. For a complete schedule of events and a list of all participants, please visit the conference Web site at:

The conference is being co-sponsored by the IU Russian and East European Institute and the Center for West European Studies, with support from a multitude of other campus schools and departments. The papers will be published by a university press later this year.