Explainer: Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was the first body created to prosecute war crimes since 1945.
|More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the Srebrenica massacre[File: EPA]
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a United Nations court of law dealing with war crimes that took place during the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s.
It was established in 1993, and since then has indicted 161 people said to have played roles in the bloody conflict.
Based in The Hague, it was the first international body for the prosecution of war crimes since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials held in the aftermath of World War Two.
The tribunal has jurisdiction over individuals responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the territory of the former Yugoslavia after January 1, 1991.
Detentions, trials, and arrests
- 36 people have been arrested and are currently in custody.
- 27 people are currently on trial. Seventeen others, including former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, are at various stages of proceedings and dozens of others have been passed to courts in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia.
- Nearly two months after Ratko Mladic’s arrest, Goran Hadzic, a Croatian Serb official, indicted for planning the murder and deportations of hundreds of non-Serbs in the self-declared Republic of Serbian Krajina in Croatia, was arrested on July 20.
- Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic died in detention in March 2006, just months before a verdict was due in his four-year war crimes trial on 66 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity or other war crimes during the conflicts in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.
- Radislav Krstic, commander of the Bosnian Serb army’s Drina Corps in 1995, was the first person convicted of genocide by the court, in a landmark verdict in August 2001. He was jailed for 46 years, but his sentence was later cut to 35, and the offence reduced to one of aiding and abetting genocide.
- Former Bosnian Serb army commander Vidoje Blagojevic was also found guilty, in 2005, of aiding and abetting genocide, and sentenced to 18 years.
- Milan Babic, ex-leader of the rebel Serbs in Croatia’s Krajina region, was jailed for 13 years in 2004 for his role in the ethnic cleansing of almost 80,000 Croats in 1991. He was the first notable indictee to admit his guilt, and agreed to testify against Milosevic. He committed suicide in 2006.
- His fellow Krajina Serb leader, Milan Martic, was jailed for 35 years in 2007 for his role in the same expulsions.
- Momcilo Krajisnik, former head of the Bosnian Serb parliament, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Bosnian Muslims and Croats, but acquitted of genocide.
- Former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic was convicted in 2003 by the ICTY for her part in the persecution of Bosnian Muslims in the war from 1992 to 1995, and is serving an 11-year sentence.
- Vojislav Seselj, leader of Serbia’s ultranationalist Radical Party, is currently on trial for charges including murder, torture and persecution of non-Serbs in a joint criminal enterprise with Milosevic to create a “Greater Serbia” including large parts of Bosnia and Croatia.
- Ramush Haradinaj, a Kosovo Albanian who served as a regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during a 1998-99 war with Serbian forces before becoming Kosovo’s prime minister, was tried on charges of responsibility for torture, murder, rape and deportation. He was cleared of all war crimes charges and crimes against humanity last April.