The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a body of the United Nations (UN) established to prosecute war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. The tribunal functions as an ad-hoc independent court and is located in The Hague.
The Tribunal employs some 1,200 staff. Its main organisational components are Chambers, Registry and the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP).
Chambers encompasses the judges and their aides. The Tribunal operates three Trial Chambers and one Appeals Chamber (which also functions as the Appeals Chamber for the ICTR); the Presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber is also the President of the Tribunal as a whole. Currently, this is Theodor Meron (USA; since 2002). His predecessors were Antonio Cassese (Italy; 1993-], Gabrielle Kirk-McDonald (USA; 1997-1999) and Claude Jorda (France; 1999-2002).
Registry is responsible for handling the administration of the Tribunal; activities include keeping court records, translating court documents, transporting and accommodating those who appear to testify, operating the Public Information Section, and such general duties as payroll administration, personnel management and procurement. It is headed by the Registrar, currently Hans Holthuis (Netherlands; since 2000). His predecessor was Dorothée de Sampayo Garrido-Nijgh (Netherlands; 1995-2000).
Some of the criticisms levelled against the court include:
It was established by the UN Security Council instead of the UN General Assembly The UN Charter specifically gives the right to establish such courts to the General Assembly. This has been the legal basis of Milosevic's claim that the court has no legal authority. It was established on the basis of the Chapter VII of the UN Charter; relevant portion of the charter reads "the Security Council can take measures to maintain or restore international peace and security"; it is disputed whether a tribunal could be considered a measure to maintain or restore international peace and security.
An apparently disproportionately large number of indictees are Serbs (to the extent that a sizeable portion of the Bosnian Serb and Serbian political and military leaderships have been indicted), whereas there have been very few indictments resulting from crimes committed against Serbs (many Croat indictees were charged with crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims). Defenders of the Tribunal respond that Serb control of the established command structure (and most of the weaponry) of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) from the start of the various wars facilitated the commission of crimes on a wider and more organised scale; furthermore, the Serb command structure facilitated the identification of those with command responsibility for war crimes.
Many of the indictees are still not apprehended, which reflects badly on its image. Defenders point out that the Tribunal has no powers of arrest, and is reliant on other agencies (notably national governments, SFOR and KFOR) to apprehend and extradite indictees.
The Tribunal's power to issue secret indictments creates uncertainty among people who regard themselves as possible indictees, which places an unreasonable strain on their ability to proceed with their everyday lives, both in the short and long term.
The Tribunal in effect makes no distinction between the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian languages, issuing documents in what it terms "B/C/S" ("Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian") with no regard to differences between the three; see Serbo-Croatian language. Supporters of this approach respond that since all three forms are mutually intelligible to a high degree (and indeed were officially considered to be single language before the breakup of the former Yugoslavia) separate translations are not needed. The tribunal exclusively uses translators who speak Bosnian and Croatian variants and some of the indictees have filed complaints about not being able to fully understand the translations.
Some of the notable indictees include but are not limited to: