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 Cost of Justice

The ICTY is an international court of law. In addition to the functions common to national criminal courts, it performs various other activities and tasks. Its three main organs – the Chambers, the Registry, and the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) – all have extra duties which in national systems are performed by the legislative and the executive branches of government. Each section of the Tribunal is responsible for the planning and expenditure of its portion of the larger ICTY budget.

For example:

As of March 2016, the ICTY employed 425 staff members representing 69 nationalities.

• The Tribunal's OTP organises and finances the travel of investigators throughout the world to collect evidence and interview witnesses, a task usually performed by police in national systems. In gathering information about a case, the investigators have to interview a much greater number of witnesses than actually appear in court during trials.

This process, along with crime scene analysis and forensic investigation and examination, requires considerable resources from the Tribunal's budget. In addition to this budget, some states have generously supported the Tribunal by providing extra resources for specific investigative tasks such as the exhumation of mass graves.

• The ICTY also has a Victims and Witnesses Section (VWS), which provides protection and assistance. VWS arranges the travel and accommodation as well as the basic expenses (such as meals and medical costs) of all those who travel to The Hague to testify before the ICTY. So far, more than 4,000 individuals have testified in cases before the Tribunal.

• The ICTY has a substantial translation and interpretation department called the Conference and Language Services Section (CLSS) without which there could be no proceedings. CLSS provides simultaneous interpretation in all three courtrooms into English, French, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and, in cases related to Kosovo and Macedonia, Albanian and Macedonian, respectively. CLSS also translates all Tribunal documents such as decisions, orders, and judgements, as well as thousands of pages of witness statements and other documents which are entered into evidence at trial.

• The Tribunal also has its own legal aid system, which reflects a guarantee of fair trial. Many of the accused cannot afford to pay for their own defence counsel, or only for part of the services, so these expenses are covered by the Tribunal. The legal aid system accounts for approximately 11% of the Tribunal's yearly budget.

• The Tribunal manages its own Detention Unit. In a national system, this task would not be part of the Court's core activities but would be done by a government ministry. However, due to the specific status of this international judicial institution, the functioning of the Detention Unit is financed exclusively from the Tribunal's budget, although the UN facility is housed within the walls of a Dutch penitentiary. The host Government is responsible for the transport of detainees between airports, the Detention Unit, the Court and other facilities as required.

• The ICTY also has the responsibility to secure and protect its premises, staff members, visitors and accused. The cost of its buildings, facilities, as well as salaries for all staff are included in the Tribunal’s budget.

All of these activities are provided for in the Tribunal's budget, which is approved by the UN General Assembly. This budget is not small; however, the expense of bringing to justice those most responsible for war crimes and helping strengthen the rule of law in the former Yugoslavia pales in comparison to the cost of the crimes. The lives lost, the communities devastated, the private property ransacked and the cultural monuments and buildings destroyed, as well as the peace-keeping efforts by the international community are incomparably more expensive.

Bringing justice and accountability to the former Yugoslavia is an investment in the peace and future of south-eastern Europe.

As of March 2016, the ICTY employed 425 staff members representing 69 nationalities.
2014-2015: $ 179,998,600
2012-2013: $ 250,814,000
2010-2011: $ 286,012,600