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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 14:56 GMT
Profile: Geoffrey Nice
Geoffrey Nice
The British barrister laid out the initial case
Geoffrey Nice, deputy prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the Hague, is no stranger to the international media spotlight.

The British barrister has already led several key cases for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since being recruited to the office for the prosecutor in 1998.

He dealt with that tribunal's first prosecution of a politician - Bosnian Croat Dario Kordic who was subsequently jailed for 25 years - and successfully prosecuted the self-styled "Serbian Adolf " Goran Jelisic.

Goran Jelisic
The self-styled 'Serbian Adolf' Goran Jelisic
At home in Britain, the 56-year-old Queen's Counsel (QC) retains a reputation as a leading lawyer in the area of health and safety advocacy. Since becoming a QC (a leading barrister) he has continued a wide practice, including human rights/public law and personal injury.

He has been active in several major UK Health and Safety Executive cases including one involving the Channel Tunnel.

Mr Nice is also renowned as a thorough and eloquent advocate. These qualities were more than apparent as he began the prosecution's initial case of linking atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia to Mr Milosevic.

Stark language

On the opening day of the trial he spoke for four hours - much of it in stark, unemotional language.

Advocates should, if they are honourable to their function, give up their national identity and simply become judges of the international court

Geoffrey Nice
In one graphic description, he told a harrowing tale of the murder of a mother and her new-born baby at the hands of Serb soldiers allegedly acting on Mr Milosevic's orders.

The terrified woman, he said, ran into a nearby wood to hide from soldiers and gave birth as she cowered in fear. She was discovered and later murdered along with other members of the woman's family, Mr Nice alleged.

Dirk Ryneveld and Cala del Ponte
The other members of the team, Dirk Ryneveld and Cala del Ponte
"They were burned alive," the prosecutor said quietly. "And the baby's screams were heard for some hours before it succumbed." The account drew looks of horror from many faces in the court.

Using documents, photographs and videotapes, Mr Nice meticulously drew connections between the government over which Mr Milosevic presided and Serb forces fighting in Croatia and Bosnia.

One of the main lines of attack by supporters of Mr Milosevic has been to try to undermine the credibility of the tribunal due to the fact that its judges are drawn from Nato countries.

But Mr Nice says he believes that in a truly international court, its advocates are beyond national bias. "They should, if they are honourable to their function, give up their national identity and simply become judges of the international court," he sayid.

Mr Nice was born in London in 1945, attending St Dunstan's College in Catford, South London and Keble College Oxford.

He contested the parliamentary seat of Dover for the SDP/Liberal Alliance in 1983 and 1987.

See also:

11 Feb 02 | Europe
Milosevic allies still at large
12 Feb 02 | Europe
Profile: Carla Del Ponte
05 Jul 01 | Europe
Serb 'Adolf' innocent of genocide
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