The Tribunal has contributed to an indisputable historical record, combating denial and helping communities come to terms with their recent history. Crimes across the region can no longer be denied. For example, it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the mass murder at Srebrenica was genocide.
Judges have also ruled that rape was used by members of the Bosnian Serb armed forces as an instrument of terror, and the judges in the Kvočka et al.
trial established that a “hellish orgy of persecution” occurred in the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps of northwestern Bosnia.
Exhibit showing a murder
perpetrated by Goran Jelisić
While the most significant number of cases heard at the Tribunal have dealt with alleged crimes committed by Serbs and Bosnian Serbs, the Tribunal has investigated and brought charges against persons from every ethnic background. Convictions have been secured against Croats, as well as both Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians for crimes committed against Serbs and others.
While its judgements demonstrate that all parties in the conflicts committed crimes, the Tribunal regards its fairness and impartiality to be of paramount importance. It takes no side in the conflict and does not attempt to create any artificial balance between different groups. Evidence is the basis upon which the Prosecution presents a case. The Judges ensure a fair and open trial, assessing the evidence to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused.
Established as an ad hoc
court, the Security Council endorsed the Tribunal’s completion strategy
for a staggered and ordered closure.
Exhibit showing inmates of a
Serb-run detention camp
Estimates as of December 2012 suggest that of the cases in the trial stage, four will be concluded in 2013. The trial of Radovan Karadžić is expected to finish in 2014. The estimates for the Hadžić and Mladić cases forecast those trials finishing by 31 December 2015 and 31 July 2016, respectively.
It is anticipated that the judgements in the Perišić, Ðorđević and Šainović et al.
appeals cases will be delivered in 2013. The Popović et al.
appeals case is anticipated to be completed by July 2014.
Since 2003 the court has worked closely with local judiciaries and courts in the former Yugoslavia, working in partnership as part of a continuing effort to see justice served.
Undoubtedly, the Tribunal’s work has had a major impact on the states of the former Yugoslavia. Simply by removing some of the most senior and notorious criminals and holding them accountable the Tribunal has been able to lift the taint of violence, contribute to ending impunity and help pave the way for reconciliation.
In May 1993, the Tribunal was established by the United Nations in response to mass atrocities then taking place in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Reports depicting horrendous crimes, in which thousands of civilians were being killed and wounded, tortured and sexually abused in detention camps and hundreds of thousands expelled from their homes, caused outrage across the world and spurred the UN Security Council to act.
The ICTY was the first war crimes court created by the UN and the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals. It was established by the Security Council in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter.