Where the ICTY is Still Alive - Explaining the ICTY's Impact on Domestic Criminal Justice Systems in the Former Yugoslavia

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After having conducted proceedings concerning all 161 indictees, the ICTY finally ceased to exist in December 2017. Through its vast case law and court practice, the ICTY has developed international criminal law and procedure like no other court before. The Tribunal’s footprints will leave a long-term impact on the domestic criminal justice systems of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. The ICTY significantly influenced transitional justice in all three countries by having triggered national war crimes proceedings. It helped establish domestic specialised war crimes institutions and catalysed their initial work through various support programmes. At the same time, the Tribunal also influenced criminal law reforms, both concerning substantive and procedural criminal law. Amongst other sources, its case law forms the basis for the codification of international crimes in the domestic criminal codes, and domestic criminal procedures were aligned to the ICTY’s procedure and court practice. Domestic courts frequently follow the Tribunal’s jurisprudence, both on substantive and on procedural legal issues. Its practices are also taken up in the realm of victims and witness protection and support. Importantly, the ICTY’s impact has over the years transcended the realm of war crimes and spilled over into the overall criminal justice systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-87
JournalSüdosteuropa Mitteilungen
Issue number02
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • ICTY
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Serbia
  • impact
  • criminal justice system

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