Yugoslavia Tribunal Leaves Rich Legacy, but ‘Immense’ Challenges Remain

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tags: war crimes, Yugoslavia, United Nations Security Council

Embarrassed by its failure to prevent Europe’s worst atrocities since World War II, the United Nations Security Council created a tribunal in 1993 to track down and punish those responsible for the horrific violence against civilians that convulsed the Balkans during the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Over its 24-year life, the tribunal indicted 161 people, heard from nearly 5,000 witnesses and met for 10,800 trial days. It convicted people from all parties to the conflict on war crimes and crimes against humanity, though the largest number were Serbs. Six Bosnian Serbs, including the political leader Radovan Karadzic and the military commander Ratko Mladic, were convicted of genocide and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Its pioneering work, televised from the court, introduced a new vocabulary into the public realm. Terms like ethnic cleansing and “mass rape as a weapon to destroy lives,” notions once confined to experts, are now widely used.

Read entire article at NYT

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