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Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Wednesday, 1 June 2011 09:32 UK

Where should war criminals be tried?

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After 16 years on the run, Ratko Mladic spent last night in a cell in the Hague, waiting to go on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity during the Bosnian war.

Speaking on the programme, The Guardian's Simon Jenkins said he believed in the ICC procedure and that Mladic "is not a nice man."

But he said that the ICC was "now a minor industry" which takes an inordinate amount of time to reach verdicts.

"It's trying to be a world court... I think that takes away from national sovereignty."

But human rights expert Geoffrey Robertson QC disagreed, saying the ICC was an ad hoc tribunal which was effective in bringing war criminals to book, and that "the wheels of international justice grind slowly but they do grind exceedingly small".

But he agreed that "the essential problem is that judges and prosecutors see themselves as writing history, rather than deciding cases".

Jenkins argued that Mladic "is not facing a trial, he's facing a sentence. he has been tried in the press," adding that "it's better if these trials are conducted in the countries concerned. That's where you get closure... if justice is going to apply it's got to be universal".

But Robinson countered, saying "you've got to start somewhere... we're not going to start with America, we're not going to start with Britain. But we are laying down standards that will apply in the future to American wars, to British involvements and so forth".


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