by Guénaël Mettraux
In a 7 December op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Selective Justice for the Balkans”, David Harland, Executive Director for Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, started a conversation on what he saw as the failure of the ICTY to be equal to all.
Responding to that invitation, Marko Attila Hoare, an author and journalist, dissects what he regards as grave and numerous factual distortions underlying Harland’s argument.
Reading the two articles together is a sobering reminder that journalistic or scholarly commentaries on judicial decisions are rarely a purely objective thing. It also makes the case for the need for factual accuracy in reporting. Those involved in international criminal trials know how hard it is to make a credible and reliable record of events of this magnitude. Accuracy in this context is important because distortions will feed recrimination and heighten societal tensions. For the same reason, accuracy in reporting about such proceedings is just as important. Misrepresentations in commenting upon the judicial decisions of international criminal tribunals will not advance any sort of dialogue, and certainly not the humanitarian sort that we all wish for.