Legacy website of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Since the ICTY’s closure on 31 December 2017, the Mechanism maintains this website as part of its mission to preserve and promote the legacy of the UN International Criminal Tribunals.

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The Internship Programme assigns interns to each of the three constituent organs of the Tribunal. Legal and non-legal internships are available in the Registry and the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), while Chambers internships are all legal.


The Registry is responsible for providing information to the media and the public, administering the legal aid system of assigning defence counsel to indigent accused, supervising the Detention Unit, managing the courtrooms and maintaining diplomatic contacts with states and their representatives. Operating under the supervision of the Registrar, the Registry continues to adopt innovative approaches to its diverse and increased tasks.

Roles and duties of interns within the Registry include, but are not limited to comprehensive, legal research on matters of public international law, private international law, humanitarian law, criminal law, drafting of legal documents and correspondence, assisting in negotiations and specific projects. Internship positions also exist for those candidates with an educational background in journalism, translation and interpretation, and information technology.

Below are descriptions of the various sections within the Registry where an internship may be completed.

REGISTRY legal internships

Immediate Office of the Registrar (minimum period of three months)

The Immediate Office of the Registrar (IOR) exercises responsibilities in the areas of constitutional, international, public, private, administrative and criminal (substantive, procedural and comparative) law. It provides advice primarily to the Registrar, Deputy Registrar and Chief of Administration on legal and policy issues, ranging from support to trials and appeals to application of staff rules, cooperation with States, privileges and immunities, contractual agreements and negotiations, procurement, and claims against the organization.

The IOR monitors all ongoing trials to ensure the Registrar and Deputy Registrar are apprised of emerging issues. The IOR further assists the Registrar and Deputy Registrar in the formulation of strategic guidance to Judicial Support Services Sections, particularly in relation to high profile issues such as witness relocation, issues related to self-represented accused, conditions of detention, and medical issues of detainees. The IOR also drafts Registry submissions to the Chambers on these and other matters.

The IOR furthermore maintains diplomatic relations with the host country and other UN member states regarding general cooperation with the organization as well as the negotiation of agreements for relocation of vulnerable witnesses and enforcement of sentences. The IOR also monitors enforcement of Chambers’ orders in the region of the former Yugoslavia. The IOR further provides advice on legal and policy issues relevant to the administration and functions of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), established by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1966, and liaises with ICTR and MICT counterparts on any issues of common interest.

Office for Legal Aid and Defence Matters (minimum period of three months)

OLAD is part of the Tribunal’s Judicial Support Services Section and is entrusted with administering the legal aid system of the Tribunal. OLAD’s mandate is to ensure the rights of suspects and accused to legal representation.

In discharging its mandate, OLAD deals with a variety of challenging legal issues in sensitive areas, notably, the qualification of defence counsel, the determination of the financial status of accused requesting legal aid, the assignment of Tribunal-paid counsel and defence team members, providing assistance to self-represented accused and the facilities to which such accused are entitled in order to prepare their defence.

If selected for an internship in OLAD, you would provide assistance to OLAD legal staff in various aspects of the work of OLAD. Depending on your interests and the needs of the office, you may assist in drafting letters and submissions; conducting research in international criminal law and comparative studies in national law where relevant or necessary; you may accompany legal staff to the Detention Unit to follow up legal issues raised by detainees and may assist in providing assistance to self-represented accused. Additionally, you may be assigned to perform any other legal or administrative tasks by OLAD staff.

Court Management and Support Services Section (minimum period of three months)

The Court Management and Support Services Section carries out preparatory and organisational support tasks for the conduct of courtroom hearings.

This includes receiving documents filed during the hearing and handling exhibits, preparing procedural minutes, maintaining and updating the calendar of scheduled hearings, coordinating the schedules and use of courtroom facilities, filing, indexing and distributing all case documents, maintaining the Tribunal's Record Book and managing transcripts of all hearings, involvement with the arrival of accused in The Hague, research activities and elaboration of judicial advice related to issues concerning procedure and the judicial practices of the hearings, and the elaboration of exchanges concluded with other judicial bodies, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and more particularly in appeals cases.

Victims and Witnesses section (minimum of 3 months)

The Victims and Witnesses Section (VWS) is comprised of a Protection Unit, Support Unit and Operations Unit. The VWS contributes to the effective functioning of the ICTY by facilitating the appearance of witnesses before the Tribunal and works to protect and support all witnesses, whether called by the Prosecution, the Defence, or by the Chambers. The VWS intern assists the section with legal matters relating to the services provided to witnesses. Applicants with a background in law are preferred.

REGISTRY non legal internships

Conference and Language Services Section (minimum period of three months)

The Conference and Language Services Section is responsible for providing translation and interpretation services in French, English, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (B/C/S) and Albanian for all parts of the Tribunal.

Target-language skills at the mother-tongue level are required for interns who wish to apply for the English, B/C/S or French translation units, where their duties will include the translation of legal and non-legal documents into the corresponding language(s). Internships are also available in the Referencing, Terminology and Document Processing Unit, which provides support, including with CAT tools, to the translation units. For these internships, a working knowledge of at least English and B/C/S or English and French is needed.

Information Technology Support Services (minimum period of three months)

The Information Technology Support Services is responsible for the design, development, deployment, operation and maintenance of the information technology infrastructure and services at the Tribunal. The Section manages the physical, logical, human and organizational resources required to provide relevant policy, technical standards, user support, communication services, network services, computing services, audio-visual services and software development.

Finance section (preferred period of six months)

The Finance Section provides effective and efficient financial services to the Tribunal's stakeholders, including the Governments which provide funding, the staff and outside parties engaged in contractual relationships with ICTY. This is achieved through the processing of payroll, travel and vendor transactions and the recording of financial transactions which provides optimum managerial information. The Section is comprised of four units (excluding the office of the Chief), namely, Accounts Unit, Payroll Unit, Vendors and Travel Claims Unit, and Treasury Unit. Interns are required to take a finance examination, and can be assigned to any of the Finance units.

Human Resources Section (minimum period of three months)

The Human Resources Section is responsible for managing all personnel issues. HR interns are mainly assigned to the Career Transition Office (CTO) or to the Internship Office.

The Career Transition Office provides support to staff on all aspects of career transition through training, coaching and information resources. Interns assigned to work in the CTO will contribute to a variety of career development and training projects which reach all sections of the ICTY. Duties include workshop planning and coordination, maintaining the Office’s web pages, and administration.>

Interns assigned to the Internship Office will serve as the ICTY Internship Coordinator. The Internship Coordinator is responsible for the administration of all ICTY interns, and additionally has the responsibility of acting as focal point for all internal and external queries and issues on internships, providing induction briefing to interns and processing checkouts.

HR interns are expected to show good oral and written communication skills, a strong sense of initiative and creativity, and solid organizational skills. An interest in career development and training would be an advantage.

Staff union (minimum period of three months)

The ICTY Staff Union Committee is a staff body composed of elected representatives which is empowered by the United Nations’ Staff Rules, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General to represent ICTY staff members in all work-related matters. The Staff Union, which has successfully completed many projects at the Tribunal, offers a variety of programmes and services to its members. The team is composed of 2 full time staff members assisted by 15 staff representatives from the three organs of the Tribunal.

Interns within the Staff Union are mostly assigned to a particular project, and their roles and duties will include some administrative tasks. Interns are expected to show initiative and have good social and organizational skills.

General Services Section (preferred period of six months)

The General Services Section is responsible for managing all office buildings and providing general maintenance and services. The section also manages the functions of postal services, stores and supply, property control of inventory, transportation, reprographics, travel and visa & entitlement. Interns can be assigned to various units, allowing exposure to a broad range of activities.

Procurement Section (preferred period of six months)

The Procurement Section is responsible for all purchasing and contracting for the provision of goods and services for the operation of the organisation. In addition to the purchasing and contracting functions, it also reviews invoices prior to requisitioners’ certification and Finance’s payment of the same. Interns would be assigned to the either the purchasing or invoice processing functions.

Communications Service

The Communications Service has two main components:

  • Public Information
  • Outreach

Public Information (preferred period of three to six months)

The Media Office communicates information about the Tribunal's work and achievements through its daily contacts with the media. It responds to media enquiries, issues press releases, facilitates interviews with the Tribunal’s spokespersons, assists research on Tribunal-related issues, provides audiovisual material for media use, and assists journalists in their work on in-depth projects about the Tribunal. The office also holds a weekly press briefing, which provides the media with updates and an opportunity to put "on the record" questions to ICTY spokespersons. The Tribunal’s social media platforms are also handled by the Media Office providing up to the minute information on judicial and outreach activities.

The Web Unit operates and maintains the ICTY website in English, French and Bosnian/ Croatian/Serbian - the site includes public information materials, legal documents, and special features prepared by the Communications Service in coordination with relevant sections throughout the Tribunal. The Web Unit also operates and maintains the MICT website in English, French, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Kinyarwanda.

The Library/Publications/Tribunet unit variously: provides library research services to ICTY staff and interns, and maintains an up-to-date collection of books, loose-leafs and journals on international criminal law, human rights, international humanitarian law, etc.; produces publications including brochures, leaflets, postcards, posters and other public relations material, produces and disseminates a bimonthly newsletter aimed at the diplomatic community, assists in the proofreading/editing of all English language material produced by the Communications service; and manages the Tribunet, the institution’s intranet, which includes an internal news service for staff.

A legal background is not required; applicants with a background in journalism, media, public relations, web development, social media or the humanities would be preferred for the Public Information section.

Outreach (preferred period of three to six months)

The Outreach Programme is dedicated to communicating the work and relevance of the Tribunal to the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. Operating primarily in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, the programme strives to make the Tribunal's activities transparent, accessible and intelligible to the communities of the region, with a focus on raising awareness of the ICTY’s work and promoting its legacy. Through its regional offices - in Sarajevo and Belgrade - the Outreach Programme actively engages local legal communities, NGOs, media, victims' associations and other key groups. Outreach is also responsible for the majority of public visits to the Tribunal, which, in the last year, saw Outreach staff welcoming more than 9,000 guests.

A legal background is not required; applicants with humanities/social sciences backgrounds would certainly be considered.

Chambers (minimum period of three months)

CHAMBERS legal internships (minimum period of three months)

The core work in Chambers consists of the provision of legal support to the Judges at the trial and appeal stages. Chambers also supports the Judges in their other activities, for example by assisting them in their contributions to amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and other Tribunal Rules, Regulations and Directives.

While some Chambers interns are assigned to individual judges who sit on several cases, generally interns in Chambers are assigned to a team of Chambers legal staff and interns that provide support in a single case. The functions of interns include, but are not limited to, performing legal research and preparing memoranda, contributing to the preparation of drafts of Decisions, Orders and parts of Judgements, obtaining research materials, assisting with the management of documentary evidence, observing court proceedings, writing reports of those proceedings and summaries of witnesses’ testimony and participating in analysis and discussions.

Candidates for legal internships in Chambers are required to be, at a minimum, in their final year of law school/university. If the candidate has already completed a four-year undergraduate university degree before commencing graduate legal studies, he or she must have completed at least one year of graduate legal studies by the time the internship commences.

Office of The Prosecutor (minimum period of three months)

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) prosecutes persons suspected of the planning, implementation and execution of the most serious violations of international humanitarian law that have occurred in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991.

OTP legal internships

Candidates must be in their final year of undergraduate legal studies, and second and third year law students who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree before commencing legal studies are invited to apply for internships of three to six months.

In the Trial Section, duties of legal interns include, but are not limited to, assisting trial attorneys with preparing examinations in chief and cross examinations, proofing witnesses, researching and drafting of parts of motions and final briefs, and classifying and preparing evidence for trial.  Interns may also perform research on comparative and international criminal law issues, prepare agenda or draft discussion papers for legal meetings and draft the corresponding minutes, draft legal correspondence, and perform other litigation-related tasks.  Interns may also perform routine tasks such as cite checking and compiling and collating materials.

In the Appeals Section, legal interns assist OTP appeals counsel in conducting legal and factual research and drafting memoranda on issues of international humanitarian law and international and comparative criminal law and procedure, finalizing appellate filings, and preparing for hearings before the Appeals Chamber. Interns may also perform routine tasks such as cite checking and compiling and collating materials. French and BCS are an asset.

In the Immediate Office of the Prosecutor, interns will have the opportunity to work closely with OTP management, including the Prosecutor. Interns assist with a broad range of projects, including by: providing support on legal issues for the Trial and Appeals Sections; case-related matters of cross-cutting significance to the OTP; drafting speeches, reports and other materials for the Prosecutor; developing educational materials; and conducting research for legacy projects. Interns may also perform routine tasks such as cite checking and compiling and collating materials. Being bilingual in English and French is an asset.

Sarajevo Office - Victims and Witnesses Section (minimum period of 3 months)

The role of the Victims and Witnesses Section (VWS) is to facilitate the appearance of witnesses before the Tribunal and to protect and support all witnesses, whether called by the Prosecution, the Defence, or by the Chambers.

The VWS, in cooperation with the University of North Texas, has launched a Pilot Study into the long-term impacts of testimony on witnesses who testified before the Tribunal. The VWS is seeking interns act as Research Assistants for the preparation and implementation of research activities (qualitative and quantitative) in the Sarajevo Field Office.

Please refer to the UN Careers Portal for further details under Job Number #36032.

Internships with defence teams: the Association of Defence Counsel practising before the ICTY (ADC-ICTY) also offers internships with Defence teams and in its Head Office. More information is available on the ADC-ICTY Internships page. Note: the ADC-ICTY being independent from the Tribunal, its internship program is not linked to the ICTY and the application procedure is run separately.