Daily Star - Brammertz set for new post at court for former Yugoslavia, December 31, 2007
Gerald de Hemptinne
Serge Brammertz, who led the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, will take up his post as chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia on Tuesday. The 46-year-old Belgian has two important tasks before him at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY): stepping up the pressure to arrest the most wanted fugitives Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic and closing down the court in 2010. Brammertz succeeds the mediagenic Carla Del Ponte who held the post of ICTY prosecutor for eight years. Previously, he headed the UN investigation into the February 2005 assassination of Hariri. He will be replaced by former Canadian prosecutor Andre Bellemare. Bellemare was appointed late in November by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to replace outgoing Brammertz. Before that, Brammertz was deputy prosecutor in charge of investigations of the International Criminal Court, the world's first permanent war crimes court also based in The Hague. There he led investigations into atrocities committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur and Uganda. Born in Eupen in the German-speaking region of Belgium, he has degrees in law and criminology from Belgian universities and was a professor of law at the University of Liege. He started his career as a lawyer before quickly moving up in the ranks of the Belgian national prosecutor's office. In 2002 Brammertz became federal prosecutor in Belgium. He is considered an expert in fighting cross-border organized crime, and international legal cooperation in the fields of terrorism, arms trafficking and human rights violations. Brammertz is a demanding boss, but works very hard himself and always makes time for his colleagues, a former assistant who did not want to be identified, told AFP. Brammertz is expected to continue much as Del Ponte has but be more pragmatic. Brammertz shies away from media interest and considers himself more of a magistrate than a diplomat. He has yet to comment publicly on his appointment to the ICTY. In The Hague, he will focus on trying to bring the last remaining fugitives to justice before the tribunal is set to close its doors in 2010. The most wanted fugitives are Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military chief, and his former political boss Karadzic. The pair have been indicted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity over the campaign of ethnic cleansing during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia. Their indictment includes charges over the 1995 massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys at the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.