Through its Outreach Programme, the Tribunal makes its trials and judgements accessible and understandable in the region of the former Yugoslavia. The Outreach Programme’s offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia serve the local communities in their own languages. The Outreach Programme has a central office in The Hague.
The Outreach Programme’s representatives in Sarajevo, Belgrade, Pristina and Zagreb maintain close ties with the local media, the legal community, governmental and non-governmental organisations, victims' associations, international organisations and diplomatic representatives.
The Programme was created in 1998-1999 under the leadership of the then President of the Tribunal, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald. It had become obvious that the Tribunal’s proceedings were poorly publicised in the former Yugoslavia, and the governments in the region were not doing much to help their citizens gain accurate information about the trials in The Hague. The regional media often deliberately advanced hostile misinformation about the Tribunal.
The remoteness of the Tribunal’s seat and the fact that it operates in languages and under procedural rules foreign to the countries of the former Yugoslavia are additional reasons for the Tribunal to actively explain its work to the communities it serves in the region.
In association with partner organisations, Outreach has planned and organised many conferences, seminars and other events and visits for audiences from the former Yugoslavia. Thousands of people - victims and members of their families, legal professionals, government representatives, students, journalists and others – have had a chance to communicate directly with Tribunal representatives. Access to accurate information has served to dispel myths and prejudices about the Court.
Since the expansion of the Tribunal's mandate in 2003, with the Security Council calling upon the organisation to support the capacity building of national courts to adjudicate war crimes cases, the Outreach Programme has played an important role in the transfer of know-how to the former Yugoslavia.
The Outreach Programme is a United Nations Trust Fund and as such is entirely funded by voluntary contributions. Since 2004 it has been entirely supported by the European Commission.
The Outreach Youth project is supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
ICTY Documents in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), Albanian and Macedonian
The Outreach Programme ensures that Tribunal documents and press releases are available to the public in BCS, as well as Albanian and Macedonian. These include judgments, indictments, decisions and orders, as well as all basic legal documents (such as the Statute, Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Rules governing defence and detention matters, etc.). The documents are available on the Tribunal website, but many are also available as hard copies or on CD-roms that can be requested from the Outreach offices.