As I am not part of any form of “social media”, which I am given to understand is the means of communication engaged in by a substantial proportion of the population, I would be grateful if you could circulate the following comment as I have been unable to contact any responsible person at ZNS between last evening and this morning to voice my complaint.
Yesterday, Friday 28 July, having been invited to do so, I addressed a group of public officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Attorney General and other invited persons on the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Certain members of the press had also been invited. My presentation ( a copy of which I attach) and the follow-up questions from those in attendance dealt exclusively with the work of international criminal tribunals, from Nuremberg to the International Criminal Court.
Following my presentation, I was approached by a person who identified himself as a reporter from The Tribune and a reporter and camera man f r om ZNS; both reporters posed a series of questions, none of which related to my presentation. The questions related to certain matters of current social and political interests such as the death penalty and judicial reform. I made it clear that I would not answer any question or make any comment on these matters of controversy and, save for referring the reporter from ZNS to observations I had made in the past in my annual addresses as Chief Justice, I spoke in general terms about law reform being continually necessary in every legal system, including the one in which I now work.
I was shocked, horrified and dismayed to have seen o n ZNS’s evening report of Friday (repeated as the lead news story on ZNS radio this morning (Saturday) that I “fully support anti-corruption laws”. There is absolutely nothing that I said to the reporters (as the tapes of the exchange would establish) which could have led to this misleading assertion, especially after I made it clear that I would not be drawn into any such current controversies.
I am deeply disappointed that, in a news report which said nary a word about the subject of my presentation — International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law — my comments could have been so deliberately distorted, for whatever motive.
This is inexcusable but, I fear that it would be unrealistic for me to expect a retraction or clarification from ZNS for this story which serves only to ignite controversy, a path which I have always sought to avoid in my near 27 years in judicial office, both nationally and internationally, as it does damage to the judicial “brand” , thereby diminishing public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary.