31 July, 2013

Bosnian Croat leaders convicted at the ICTY

Work in the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) continues.  In late May 2013, after a trial lasting seven years, six Bosnian Croat leaders were convicted for their involvement in 'ethnic cleansing' during the breakup of Yugoslavia - (The Guardian 29th May 2013).  The six men and the sentences imposed are Jadranko Prlić (25 years imprisonment), Bruno Stojić (20 years), Slobodan Praljak (20 years), Milivoj Petković (20 years), Valentin Corić (16 years) and and Berislav Pušić (10 years) and a summary of the Trial Chamber's judgment is available here.

The ICTY is to hear appeals from the six - see Cases on Appeal - and a very helpful Case Information Sheet is also available.

The ICTY
issues a bi monthly digest of its work and also holds weekly press briefings.  The July 2013 digest notes that there have been 161 individuals indicted and 136 cases completed.  The first hearing at the tribunal was on 8th November 1994,

Establishment


In May 1993, the Tribunal was established by the United Nations in response to mass atrocities then taking place in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Reports depicting horrendous crimes, in which thousands of civilians were being killed and wounded, tortured and sexually abused in detention camps and hundreds of thousands expelled from their homes, caused outrage across the world and spurred the UN Security Council to act.

The ICTY was the first war crimes court created by the UN and the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals.  It was established by the Security Council in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter. 
The key objective of the ICTY is to try those individuals most responsible for appalling acts such as murder, torture, rape, enslavement, destruction of property and other crimes listed in the Tribunal's Statute.  By bringing perpetrators to trial, the ICTY aims to deter future crimes and render justice to thousands of victims and their families, thus contributing to a lasting peace in the former Yugoslavia.

The tribunal is now working toward completion of its mandate and, to that end, is concentrating on the prosecution and trial of the most senior leaders.  Some cases involving intermediate and lower ranking accused have been transferred to national courts in the former Yugoslavia.  The plan is referred to as the completion strategy.  However, the work will not be completed for some time.  For example, the trial of Ratko Mladić is not likely to end until July 2016.

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