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Tuesday, 2 October 2012, 6:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

The end of Slobodan Milošević

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

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.

Sir 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?

Had 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.

This is a part of Sir Geoffrey Nice's 2012/13 series of lectures as Gresham Professor of Law. The other lectures in this series are as follows:

International Criminal Tribunals
The ICC and Africa
Legal Process as a Tool to Rewrite History
State Involvement in War Crimes Trials

Regulation at home, but not abroad

Speaker_GeoffreyNice_370x370.jpg

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC 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 bono for 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.  Between 2009 and 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, the body that regulates barristers.

The six free public law lectures for 2013/14 Sir Geoffrey delivered as Gresham Professor of Law included four lectures on how legal process can fail the citizen in armed conflict, one explaining advocacy work in courts, and a final lecture covering recent legal changes.

The first five of his 2012-13 lectures dealt with issues arising from the work of international criminal courts and tribunals.  The sixth contrasted 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.

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC continues his Law series in the 2015/16 academic year, entitled 'Law and Lawyers - not all bad?'.

Professor Nice's previous lecture series are as follows:

2015/16 Law and Lawyers - not all bad?
2014/15 From Human Rights to Srebrenica
2013/14 Law Lectures by Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
2012/13 International Criminal Courts

All of Professor Nice's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

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2 October 2012

The end of Slobodan Milošević
Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

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