Yesterday, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY or Tribunal) took part in The Hague International Open Day for the last time, pending the Tribunal’s official closure on 31 December 2017.
Together with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the ICTY welcomed over 900 members of the public to its premises. Guests had a unique opportunity to peek “behind the scenes” of international criminal justice and learn about the inner workings of the two institutions.
ICTY President Judge Carmel Agius opened the event by recalling some of the Tribunal’s significant achievements over the past twenty-four years. President Agius highlighted in particular the Tribunal’s “groundbreaking role in the fight against impunity” while emphasising “that much more needs to be done all over the world, if we are to ensure that the fight against impunity will be won”. MICT President Judge Theodor Meron welcomed visitors on behalf of the MICT, explaining its pivotal role in undertaking the remaining judicial functions of both the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Judges Alphons Orie and Christoph Flügge provided insights into the role of international Judges, while senior staff members explained the mandates, history and legacies of the ICTY and the MICT, explored the work of different organs of the two institutions, and discussed the ICTY’s specific achievements in areas such as the prosecution of sexual violence committed in times of war. Throughout the day, visitors also toured the courtrooms, attended screenings of the latest ICTY Outreach documentary productions, and viewed exhibited artefacts from the ICTY’s archives.
The ICTY was the first war crimes court to be created by the United Nations, and the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials. In its more than 24 years of operations, the ICTY has made significant strides in the effort to hold accountable perpetrators of the most serious crimes, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This year’s Open Day was a chance to recognise and celebrate the Tribunal’s various achievements before it officially closes its doors at the end of this year.
The Hague International Open Day is organised annually by the municipality of The Hague and offers members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the daily functions and broader aims of the various institutions and organisations based in the International City of Peace and Justice.