Swedish Television (SVT) recently broadcasted the documentary "Staden som offrades" (A Town Betrayed) which covers the genocide in Srebrenica. Even if the documentary gives a biased impression and possibly makes false allegations, it comes as a surprise to me that the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has sent a latter to the CEO of SVT Eva Hamilton in order to point out errors in the documentary. Is this the role of the ICTY? In my forthcoming thesis I write the following on the responsibility of international criminal tribunals and courts to create a historic record.
1.5.4 TruthIn other words, international criminal tribunals and courts may contribute to the clarification of the historic record in a broad sense but it should be seen as a concequence of the fact-finding activities of the court in an individual case rather than a factor determining the decisions and actions of the Tribunal or Court. To settle the historic record in a borad sense should be a task for historians. If public broadcasters, such as SVT, broadcast biased and erroneous documentaries, there are institutions such as the Swedish Broadcasting Commission (Granskningsnämnden för radio och TV) that may deal with such matters.
The concept of truth may arguably be given either a broad or a narrow meaning. The first approach suggests that one merit of bringing alleged culprits of gross atrocities and international crimes before a court is that an accurate historical record may be established. It is not only the conduct of the accused that is relevant for the Prosecution and the Judges, they also have an additional duty to actively clarify as much as possible the historical facts of a case. A more narrow understanding of the concept of truth is to focus on the conduct of the accussed, to separate the culpable from the non-culpable. There is a practical difficulty in keeping the the conduct of the accused and historical facts apart in two separate spheres because international crimes are often conducted in a wider context. However, mindful of the different meanings of the concept truth, one should be cautious when it is used by commentators, in decisions and judgments.
8.3.3 The Question of Timing and an Overarching Objective
Section 1.5.4. explained that the concept of truth may be given either a broad or a narrow meaning. Damaška explains that there are certainly reasons why international criminal tribunals and courts should seek to establish truth in its broad sense. To set the historic record straight may be a necessary precondition for reconciliation and avoidance of future conflicts. Second, international crimes are often conducted by groups, not isolated individuals, in specific settings, sometimes over extended periods of time. This drives the judges to engage in broad fact-finding. However, Damaška also presents several convincing counterarguments why international criminal tribunals and courts lacks capacity to create a historical record. Judges act under time constraint and are tasked to issue stable decisions upon which actions is taken. Historians on the other hand are not subject to constraints of promptness and finality, they are free to modify their findings. Furthermore, even if the limits of legal relevancy are enlarged, matters relevant to a full historical account will remain legally irrelevant. Additionally, seekers of genuine historical knowledge prefer to explore a wide range of possibilities and approach their subject matter from multiple perspectives instead of depending on two contrary accounts. Polarization becomes a straitjacket for historians. The best that can be expected of international criminal tribunals and courts is to provide fragmentary material that may assist subsequent historical research. Finally, to create a historical record involves broader and collective events while the criminal procedure focuses on the criminal responsibility of an individual. To focus on individual responsibility, to separate the culpable from the non-culpable, and thus lessen the collective guilt is arguably an essential part behind the rationale of international criminal trials. The creation of a historical record could even counter the aim of individualizing the guilt and responsibility for atrocities committed during a conflict. Therefore the reasonable conclusion is that the idiosyncratic goal of international criminal procedure should be to establish truth in its narrow sense which will have implications for the final recommendations of this study.
I have tried to get hold of the letter and hope to update this post later.
 Rome Statute, Articles 54(1)(a) and 69(3); see also Piragoff, Donald,Article 69 - Evidence, Triffterer, Otto (Ed.), Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1301-1336, Second Edition, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, 2008, p. 1321.
 Damaška, 2008, p. 359; Ohlin, 2009, p. 91.
 Damaška, 2008, p. 338.