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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Former Prosecutors

Carla Del Ponte
Prosecutor of the ICTY from 1999 to 2007
Born: 1947, Lugano, Switzerland




Carla Del Ponte was the Tribunal‘s Prosecutor for more than eight years. During her mandate, almost 100 accused persons were brought to the Tribunal’s custody, although the Tribunal’s most wanted, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić, remained fugitives. In 2004, she signed the organisation’s final indictments in accordance with the Tribunal’s completion strategy.

Prosecutor Del Ponte read law in Bern and Geneva, earning her degree (LL.M.) in 1972. After a few years of on-the-job training at a law office in Lugano, she set up her own law and notary's office in Lugano and started practising law in 1975.

In September 1981, Mrs. Del Ponte was appointed investigating magistrate and later became public prosecutor in the office of the Lugano district attorney. Responsible for investigating financial and white-collar crime, international drug trafficking and organized crime, she gained thorough knowledge of international legal assistance in criminal matters. Along with the late Italian investigative judge Giovanni Falcone, she uncovered the connection between Italian drug trade and Swiss money launderers.

On April 1, 1994, Mrs. Del Ponte was appointed Attorney General of Switzerland. She was also a member of the Federal Commission on White-Collar Crime.

On 11 August 1999 the UN Security Council appointed her to the position of Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She was re-appointed to the position of ICTY Prosecutor for a second four-year term in September 2003.

Mrs. Del Ponte was the Swiss ambassador to Argentina from January 2008 to February 2011.

Arbour Louise Arbour
Prosecutor of the ICTY from 1996 to 1999
Born: 1947, Montreal, Quebec, Canada




Louise Arbour was the Tribunal’s Prosecutor from October 1996 to September 1999, a period during which the Tribunal reached maturity and saw a huge increase in trial activity as tens of accused persons were brought to its custody. It was Prosecutor Arbour who introduced the use of so-called “sealed indictments” and persuaded the international agencies present in the former Yugoslavia to start arresting indictees.

She graduated from Collège Régina Assumpta, Montreal in 1967 and completed an LL.L (with distinction) in the Faculty of Law, University of Montreal in 1970. Following the Quebec Bar Admission Course, she was called to the Quebec Bar in 1971 and the Ontario Bar in 1977. Ms. Arbour’s academic career culminated in the positions of Associate Professor and Associate Dean at the Osgood Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Canada, in 1987.

In December of 1987, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario (High Court of Justice) and in 1990 to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. In 1995, she was chosen to lead an official investigation into the operation of the correctional service of Canada, based on allegations by female inmates at a women's prison in Kingston, Ontario.

In 1996, the UN Security Council appointed her Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. After three years as Prosecutor, she resigned to take up an appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.

From 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2008, she was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ms. Arbour has received honorary doctorates from 27 Universities and numerous medals and awards. She is a member of many distinguished professional societies and organisations and has served on the boards of many others. She has published extensively, in both English and French, on criminal law and other topics and given innumerable addresses on both national and international criminal law.

Goldstone Richard J. Goldstone
Prosecutor of the ICTY from 1994 to 1996
Born: 1938, South Africa




Richard Goldstone took up office as the Tribunal’s Prosecutor in August 1994 while the conflict in both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina was ongoing. He signed the Tribunal’s first indictments, including those against Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić for the Srebrenica genocide and other massive crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He served until 31 September 1996, being simultaneously the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Justice Goldstone graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a B.A. and LLB cum laude in 1962, after which he practiced as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. In 1976, he was appointed Senior Counsel and in 1980 was made Judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court. In 1989, he was appointed Judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. From 1991 to 1994, he served as Chairperson of the South-African Commission of Inquiry regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, which came to be known as the Goldstone Commission.

After his service in the Tribunal, Justice Goldstone returned to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, where he was a Judge from July 1994 to October 2003. He was also the chairperson of the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo from August 1999 until December 2001. In December 2001 he was appointed as the co-chairperson of the International Task Force on Terrorism, established by the International Bar Association. In April 2004, he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to the Independent International Committee to investigate the Iraq Oil for Food program.

Justice Goldstone’s other responsibilities have included being Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Governor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, National President of the National Institute of Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of Offenders, chairperson of the board of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa, as well as president of the educational non-profit organisation World ORT and chairperson of the Bradlow Foundation, a charitable educational trust. He is a member of the boards of several organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights. From 1999 to 2003 he served as a member of the International Group of Advisers of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Justice Goldstone has received numerous international awards and honorary doctorates. Since the beginning of 2004, he has been a visiting professor at a number of prestigious US law schools.

Escovar Ramon Escovar Salom
Prosecutor of the ICTY from 1993 to 1994




Venezuelian Ramon Escovar Salom was appointed ICTY Prosecutor in October 1993 and was due to take office in February 1994. However, Mr. Escovar Salom resigned before taking up the post. Graham Blewitt, then Deputy Prosecutor, stepped in as temporary Prosecutor until the appointment of Richard Goldstone in July 1994.

Mr. Escovar Salom holds a law degree and a doctorate in political science from the Central University of Venezuela. His career began in 1948 and has included being a Senator, as well as holding a number of ministerial posts including that of Minister of Justice (1964-1969).

From 1986 to 1989, Mr. Escovar Salom served as his country’s Ambassador to France. He then held the post of Attorney General until 1994, when he was appointed Minister of the Interior.

Throughout his career, Mr. Escovar Salom maintained close links with academia. Between 1958 and 1977, he held several academic posts at the Central University of Venezuela. From 1979 to 1981, he was a fellow, and subsequently, visiting scholar at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. In 1982, he was appointed Simon Bolivar Professor at Cambridge University. He has also been a member of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences of Venezuela.