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The Judges take stock of the situation of the Tribunal on the eve of the first trial

Press Release TRIBUNAL

(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 26 April 1996

The Judges take stock of the situation of the Tribunal on the eve of the first trial

The Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia held their tenth Plenary session on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 April at the Tribunal's seat at The Hague.

This session was almost entirely devoted to the situation of the Tribunal, four months after the signature of the Dayton Peace Agreement, as well as to its current and future judicial activities.

In this respect, the Judges were briefed behind closed doors by the Prosecutor and the Deputy Prosecutor.


The Judges noted that, thanks to the combined efforts made by President Cassese and Prosecutor Goldstone, and to an increased awareness of the international community, the Tribunal has experienced a real development of its judicial activities since the beginning of 1996 and has now become totally operational.

Indeed, it should be pointed out that: the TADIC trial, which is the first trial of the Tribunal, will start on 7 May; four Rule 61 hearings were held since October 1995 in the following cases: NIKOLIC (Susica); MARTIC; MRSKIC, RADIC SLJIVANCANIN (Vukovar Hospital) and RAJIC (Stupni Do); the number of accused currently in custody is five, among whom three are currently under the Tribunal's jurisdiction (TADIC, BLASKIC and MUCIC), and two are detained in Germany (DELALIC and LAJIC).This sustained judicial activity will continue in the coming months, with: the pursuit of Rule 61 hearings the opening of other trials as soon as possible and the expected issuance of other indictments.Moreover, the Judges expressed satisfaction regarding the logistical, political and moral support given to the Tribunal by numerous States (France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), or by a community of States (such as the European Union and the OSCE), and welcomed the adoption by Croatia of legislation to co-operate with the Tribunal.


Nevertheless, although the judicial activity of the Tribunal has never been so intense, the Judges are worried about the fulfillment of its mission in the future.

These worries are based on the scope of IFOR's mission in the former Yugoslavia, on the sanction mechanism to be imposed on the States not co-operating with the Tribunal and, broadly speaking, on the lack of co-operation by the three States in the region which are parties to the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Concerning the first two points, it should be strongly stressed that IFOR, which has no law-enforcement power, cannot respond to the Tribunal's expectations, notably with regard to the apprehension of the individuals already accused by the ICTY.

The return to sanctions, as provided for in Security Council Resolution 1022, in the event of non co-operation by certain States, has not yet been implemented and might never be.

Finally, generally speaking, the lack of co-operation by the three States in the region which are parties to the Dayton Agreement is the most preoccupying aspect of all. Indeed, the Judges cannot but notice that out of 57 arrest warrants, all sent to the authorities concerned, none has so far been served. The Judges can but recall that, without the transfer by States of the persons indicted by the ICTY, the latter will no longer be able to carry out the mission with which it was entrusted.


Finally, the Judges adopted a new Rule (40bis) to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Conceived in the light of the experience of the past few months, this Rule provides for a system of provisional detention of suspects transferred to the UN Detention Unit. The duration of the provisional detention will be limited to one month, renewable twice.

The Tribunal is thus equipped with a procedural system which takes into account not only the needs of the Office of the Prosecutor but also the fundamental requirement for the respect of human rights.


International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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