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50 Int'l & Comp. L.Q. 452 (2001)
Command Responsibility and the Blaskic Case

handle is hein.journals/incolq50 and id is 462 raw text is: 452         International and Comparative Law Quarterly    [VOL. 50
Law of the Sea will follow the award's interpretation of Article 281. The case does
illustrate that arbitration may not be the best means of addressing UNCLOS
disputes. Not only is it very significantly more expensive as a process than going to
the ICJ or the ITLOS, but there is, just perhaps, not quite the same institutional
commitment to seeing a case through several phases of complex argument. Faced
with a merits phase that would turn largely on scientific evidence, and lead only to
a negotiated outcome, it is easy to appreciate an ad hoc tribunal's desire to part
company quickly with a largely hopeless case that had already been well aired.
Moreover, cases such as this are arguably better suited to special arbitration by
fisheries experts than by a judicial tribunal with expertise only in legal questions.
Caveat piscator.
A. Introduction
A disturbing feature of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia was the extent to
which civilians were the target of military attacks by all three of the armed forces
of the main ethnic communities. It was the military attacks by the armed forces of
one of these ethnic communities-the Bosnian Croats (HZHB)-against Bosnian
Muslim civilians and associated events in the Lasva Valley region of Central
Bosnia from May 1992 to January 1994 that led to the indictment and eventual
conviction of General Tihomir Blaskic.
The Blaskic case represents an historic decision of the UN International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It is the first time since the
war crimes trials following the Second World War that a serving General has been
found guilty of war crimes.' At the time of the commission of the offences, Blaskic
was a Colonel in the armed forces of the Bosnian Croatian Defence Council
(HVO)2 and Commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone (CBOZ) with his
headquarters in the Hotel Vitez.3 He was promoted in August 1994 to the rank of
General and was at the same time appointed commander of the HVO with his
headquarters in Mostar. Subsequently, in November 1995, he was appointed by
the Croatian Government as a General in the armed forces of the Republic of
Croatia (HV).4
On 1 April 1996, General Blaskic voluntarily gave himself up to the ICTY, five
months after being indicted by the ICTY for war crimes. The pre-trial phase of the
case lasted 14 months, during which time the Tribunal rendered a number of
* Faculty of Law, University of Edinburgh.
1. See e.g., among these earlier cases U.S.A. v. Von Leeb et al., 11 Trials of War Criminals
Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, p.1; and
U.S.A. v. Tomoyuki Yamashita, United Nations War Crimes Commission, 4 Law Reports of
Trials of War Criminals, (1945), p.1.
2. The HVO is the military arm of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
3. Prosecutor v. Tihomir Blaskic, Case No. IT-95-14-T, decision of 3 March 2000, para.
4. Second Amended Indictment, 25 April 1997, para. 2.

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