International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
is a body of the United Nations
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 25 May 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, governments etc. The maximum sentence it can impose is life imprisonment. Various countries have signed agreements with the UN to carry out custodial sentences.
Some of the critiques of the court include:
- A small portion of the indictees were accused of crimes committed against Serbs, while practically the whole Serb political and military establishment is indicted.
- The Court was established by the UN Security Council instead of the UN General Assembly which makes it seem like a court created by the Great Powers in order to try citizens of smaller nations.
- Many of the indictees are still not apprehended -- while this may not be in the jurisdiction of the court, it still badly reflects on its image.
- The first language of the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian indictees is referred to by the court as "BCS"; see Serbo-Croatian language. However, the court relies solely on Croat and Bosnian Muslim translators.
spokesman Jamie Shea
said the following about the court:
- NATO countries are those that have provided the finance to set up the Tribunal, we are amongst the majority financiers, and of course to build a second chamber so that prosecutions can be speeded up so let me assure that we and the Tribunal are all one on this, we want to see war criminals brought to justice and I am certain that when Justice Arbour goes to Kosovo and looks at the facts she will be indicting people of Yugoslav nationality and I don't anticipate any others at this stage.
In December, 2003
, Wesley Clark
testified behind closed doors during Slobodan Milosevic
's trial. In the 1990s
, Clark had spoken with Milosevic for more than 100 hours in his role as the head of the U.S. military team during the Dayton Agreement
negotiations and as NATO
's Supreme Allied Commander
Critics of the court took Clark's testimony as a prime example of the court's
flaws. During Clark's cross-examination by Milosevic the following exchange is found:
MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] General Clark, is it true that in an interview that you gave for The New Yorker on the 17th of November, you said that the war that you waged was technically illegal?
[Judge May cuts Milosevic off and after some back and forth between
them Milosevic asks:]
MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] So I cannot ask him anything at all
about the war waged by NATO against Yugoslavia. Is that what you're
JUDGE MAY: Yes.
MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. May, that really is an
example showing that this is truly nothing more than a farce.
Some indictees that are described on Wikipedia:
Other accused and/or indicted persons include but are not limited to:
- Dario Kordić
- Momčilo Krajišnik
- Radislav Krstić
- Milan Martić
- Mile Mrkšić
- Mladen Tuta Naletilić
- Miroslav Radić
- Veselin Šljivančanin