International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a body of the United Nations (UN) established to prosecute war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. The tribunal functions as an ad-hoc independent court and is located in The Hague.

It was established by Resolution 827 of the UN Security Council, which was passed on May 25, 1993. It has jurisdiction over certain types of crime committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991: grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war, genocide, and crime against humanity. It can try only individuals, not organizations or governments. The maximum sentence it can impose is life imprisonment. Various countries have signed agreements with the UN to carry out custodial sentences. The last indictment was issued March 15, 2004. It aims to complete all trials by the end of 2008 and all appeals by 2010.



The Tribunal employs some 1,200 staff. Its main organisational components are Chambers, Registry and the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP).

Chambers encompasses the judges and their aides. The Tribunal operates three Trial Chambers and one Appeals Chamber (which also functions as the Appeals Chamber for the ICTR); the Presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber is also the President of the Tribunal as a whole. Currently, this is Theodor Meron (USA; since 2002). His predecessors were Antonio Cassese (Italy; 1993-1997), Gabrielle Kirk-McDonald (USA; 1997-1999) and Claude Jorda (France; 1999-2002).

Registry is responsible for handling the administration of the Tribunal; activities include keeping court records, translating court documents, transporting and accommodating those who appear to testify, operating the Public Information Section, and such general duties as payroll administration, personnel management and procurement. It is headed by the Registrar, currently Hans Holthuis (Netherlands; since 2000). His predecessor was Dorothe de Sampayo Garrido-Nijgh (Netherlands; 1995-2000).

The Office of the Prosecutor is responsible for investigating crimes, gathering evidence and prosecuting indictees. It is headed by the Prosecutor, who also serves as the Prosecutor of the ICTR. The current Prosecutor is Carla del Ponte (Switzerland; since 1999). Previous Prosecutors have been Ramn Escovar-Salom (Venezuela; 1993-1994), Richard Goldstone (South Africa; 1994-1996), and Louise Arbour (Canada; 1996-1999).


As of 2005, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia's Appeals Chamber is integrated by:

The Trial Chambers are integrated by:

According to UN resolutions, the ICTY also has nine ad litem Judges:

Criticisms of the Court

Some of the criticisms levelled against the court include:

  • It was established by the UN Security Council instead of the UN General Assembly The UN Charter specifically gives the right to establish such courts to the General Assembly. This has been the legal basis of Milosevic's claim that the court has no legal authority. It was established on the basis of the Chapter VII of the UN Charter; relevant portion of the charter reads "the Security Council can take measures to maintain or restore international peace and security"; it is disputed whether a tribunal could be considered a measure to maintain or restore international peace and security.
  • An apparently disproportionately large number of indictees are Serbs (to the extent that a sizeable portion of the Bosnian Serb and Serbian political and military leaderships have been indicted), whereas there have been very few indictments resulting from crimes committed against Serbs (many Croat indictees were charged with crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims). Defenders of the Tribunal respond that Serb control of the established command structure (and most of the weaponry) of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) from the start of the various wars facilitated the commission of crimes on a wider and more organised scale; furthermore, the Serb command structure facilitated the identification of those with command responsibility for war crimes.
  • Many of the indictees are still not apprehended, which reflects badly on its image. Defenders point out that the Tribunal has no powers of arrest, and is reliant on other agencies (notably national governments, EUFOR and KFOR) to apprehend and extradite indictees.
  • The Tribunal's power to issue secret indictments creates uncertainty among people who regard themselves as possible indictees, which places an unreasonable strain on their ability to proceed with their everyday lives, both in the short and long term.
  • The Tribunal in effect makes no distinction between the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian languages, issuing documents in what it terms "B/C/S" ("Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian") with no regard to differences between the three; see Serbo-Croatian language. Supporters of this approach respond that since all three forms are mutually intelligible to a high degree (and indeed were officially considered to be single language before the breakup of the former Yugoslavia) separate translations are not needed. The tribunal exclusively uses translators who speak Bosnian and Croatian variants and some of the indictees have filed complaints about not being able to fully understand the translations.


Some of the notable indictees include but are not limited to:

Former rank
Rahim Ademi Albanian awaiting trial
Milan Babić Serb

prime minister of Republika Srpska Krajina

Haradin Bala Albanian  
Idriz Balaj Albanian  
Beq Beqaj Albanian indicted for contempt of the tribunal for allegedly interfering with witnesses in the case against Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu
Vidoje Blagojević Serb sentenced to 18 years for involvement in the Srebrenica massacre
Tihomir Blaškić Croatian

general, Croatian Army

convicted, partially dismissed in appeal, since released
Janko Bobetko Croatian

chief of staff, Croatian army

indicted, died before the case could be heard
Ljube Bokovski Macedonian Christian

interior minister of Macedonia

for Ljuboten attack
Lahi Brahimaj Albanian  
Ljubomir Borovcanin Serb indicted in Srebrenica case
Goran Borovnica Serb indicted in Prijedor case
Miroslav Bralo    
Ivan Čermak Croatian

army general

awaiting trial
Mario Čerkez Croatian sentenced to 15 years for offensives in Lašva Valley, Bosnia
Hazim Delić, convicted Bosnian Muslim convicted
Rasim Delić Bosnian Muslim  
Vlastimir Đorđević Serb

army general

Đorđe Đukić   indicted for shelling civilian targets, died before case was tried
Stanislav Galić Bosnian Serb indicted for Srebrenica
Milan Gvero Bosnian Serb indicted for Srebrenica
Ante Gotovina Croat, army general  
Momčilo Gruban Serb indicted in Omarska Camp case
Sefer Halilović Bosnian Muslim for massacres in the villages of Grabovica and Uzdol, Bosnia
Ramush Haradinaj Albanian

prime minister of Kosovo

indicted for action while regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army
Gojko Janković, Bosnian Serb  
Goran Jelisić,   convicted
Dragan Jokić Bosnian Serb sentenced to 9 years for involvement in Srebrenica massacre
Miodrag Jokić Serb

admiral in Yugoslav navy

sentenced to seven years for the bombing of Dubrovnik
Drago Josipović   convicted for the massacres in Ahmići-antići
Radovan Karadžić Bosnian Serb

president of Republika Srpska

Duko Kneević Serb indicted in Omarska Camp case
Dario Kordić Croat sentenced to 25 years for offensives in the Lašva Valley, Bosnia
Radomir Kovač   convicted
Momčilo Krajišnik Bosnian Serb

prime minister of Republika Srpska

Milorad Krnojelac Bosnian Serb sentenced to fifteen years for the Foča prison camp
Radislav Krstić Bosnian Serb

general, Bosnian Serb Army

Dragoljub Kunarac   convicted
Esad Lanzo Bosnian Muslim convicted
Vladimir Lazarevic Serb

army general

Fatmir Limaj Albanian  
Sreten Lukić Serb

Serbian police general

Mladen Markač   awaiting trial
Milan Martić Serb

prime minster of Republika Srpska Krajina

eljko Meakić Bosnian Serb indicted in Omarska Camp case
Radivoj Miletić Bosnian Serb indicted for Srebrenica
Milan Milutinović Serb

President of Serbia

indicted for incidents while in authority during Kosovo War
Dragomir Miloević, Bosnian Serb indicted for command of siege of Sarajevo
Slobodan Milošević Serb

president of Serbia, president of Yugoslavia

indicted for incidents while in authority during Kosovo War
Ratko Mladić Bosnian Serb

chief of staff in Bosnian Serb army

Darko Mrđa   sentenced to 17 years
Mile Mrkšić Serb

interior minister of Republika Srpska Krajina

Isak Musliu    
Mladen Tuta Naletilić Bosnian Croat  
Dragan Nikolić Serb indicted in the Susica Camp case, pled guilty, sentenced to 23 years
Drago Nikolić Bosnian Serb indicted in the Srebrenica case
Dragan Obrenović Serb convicted
Dragoljub Ojdanić Serb

chief of staff, Yugoslav Army

indicted for incidents while in authority during Kosovo War
Naser Orić Bosnian Muslim

commander of Srebrenica

indicted in relation to Srebrenica
Vinko Pandurević Bosnian Serb indicted in the Srebrenica case
Neboja Pavković Serb

chief of staff, Yugoslav army

indicted for incidents while in authority during Kosovo War
Biljana Plavšić Bosnian Serb

prime minster of Republika Srpska

plead guilty, convicted
Vujadin Popović Bosnian Serb indicted in the Srebrenica case
Miroslav Radić    
Mitar Raević    
Nikola ainović Serb

prime minister of Serbia

indicted for incidents while in authority during Kosovo War
Vladimir antić, convicted    
Vojislav Šešelj Serb

political leader of Serbia's Radical Party

Duko Sikirica   convicted
Veselin Šljivančanin Serb

colonel, Yugoslav army

related to Vukovar
Mićo Staniić Bosnian Serb  
Vlajko Stojiljković Serb

interior minister of Serbia

indicted with Slobodan Milošević, commited suicide before trial
Pavle Strugar Montenegrin

general, Yugoslav army

sentenced to eight years for command authority in bombing of Dubrovnik
Duko Tadić Serb convicted in Prijedor case
Miroslav Tadić   sentenced to eight years in the Bosanski Šamac case, given early release
Johan Tarculovski Macedonian Christian for Ljuboten attack
Stevan Todorović   convicted
Savo Todović    
Zdravko Tolimir Bosnian Serb indicted for Srebrenica
Mitar Vasiljević   convicted
Zoran Vuković   convicted

See also

External links

fr:Tribunal pnal international pour l'ex-Yougoslavie id:Pengadilan Internasional untuk Bekas Yugoslavia ja:旧ユーゴスラヴィア国際戦犯法廷 pl:Międzynarodowy Trybunał Karny dla byłej Jugosławii


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