Background and Key Legal Issues

  • With the resurgence of  nationalism across Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the 1980s and 1990s witnessed dramatic political and social change. In the early 1990s, hostilities in Slovenia was followed by conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1998-99 and 2001 the conflicts resumed in Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  • Reports of rape and torture in detention camps, the massacre of thousands of civilians, and hundreds of thousands expelled from their home prompted the UN into action.
  • Evidence of of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian laws led the security council to to decide it would establish an international tribunal for persons responsible for these crimes.
  • This was the first war crimes court established by the UN and the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals. It marked the end of immunity for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.
  • The UN had to establish a statute of the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) that determined it’s jurisdiction and organizational structure. As well as the criminal procedure in general terms.


Slobodan Milosevic (2002-2005)

  • Slobodan Milosevic was a Serbian and Yugoslav politician during the times of war. He was well known for being corrupt and abusing his power.
  • Slobodan Milosevic was arrested on March 31st, 2001. His charges included genocide; complicity in genocide; deportation; murder; persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds; and extermination just to name a few.
  • The prosecution took two years to present its case. During the prosecution, 295 witnesses were presented and over 5000 exhibits of evidence presented. A motion to dismiss the charges was denied, in accordance that the prosecution case contained evidence supporting all 66 charges.
  • Milosevic decided to defend himself. But before he could finish his defense he was found dead in his cell from a heart attack.  Supporters from both sides believed the heart attack had been cause or self induced.