Jump to the next navigation bar : Jump to the page contents
About Globalex

 

 

International Criminal Courts for the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone: A Guide to Online and Print Resources

 

by Amy Burchfield

 

Amy Burchfield is an International and Foreign Law Reference Librarian at the John Wolff International & Comparative Law Library at the Georgetown University Law Center. She graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and from Kent State University with a MLIS and MA in German translation.

 

Published October 2005
Read the Update!

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chart Comparing the Three Courts

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

                  Overview of the Conflict

                  Overview of the Court

                  Basic Documents

                  Case Law

                  Selected Print Sources & Links

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

                  Overview of the Conflict

                  Overview of the Court

                  Basic Documents

                  Case Law

                  Selected Print Sources & Links

Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

                  Overview of the Conflict

                  Overview of the Court Structure

                  Basic Documents

                  Case Law

                  Selected Print Sources & Links

Multi-Court Sources – Online and In Print

Research Institutes and Educational Resources

Other Research Guides

Bibliography

 

 

Introduction

Despite vows of “never again” in the aftermath of the Holocaust, late twentieth century history has been marked by a series of brutal conflicts that have resulted in war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and other serious crimes. Today, several international tribunals have been established with the goal of prosecuting those who commit these crimes.

 

This guide focuses on online and print sources relating to the following three international criminal courts: the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). The guide begins with a chart comparing key features of these three courts. The guide then examines each court individually, providing an overview of the underlying conflict and general background, an overview of the court, the court’s basic documents, case law sources, and a listing of additional print and online sources for that individual court. The next section of the guide identifies online and print resources that deal with multiple international criminal tribunals. Finally, the last sections cover research institutes and educational resources, and other research guides.

 

I have purposely omitted several key courts and tribunals from this guide in order to focus narrowly on the ICTY, ICTR and SCSL. Researchers interested in the International Criminal Court (ICC) can consult that section within the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law. An excellent collection of primary materials on the Nuremburg war crimes trials is available through the Avalon Project. Finally, SMU’s International Criminal Courts guide covers other tribunals including those for Cambodia, Iraq and East Timor.

 

Chart Comparing the Three Courts

 

 

Date est.

Establishing document

Number of judges

Justiciable

crimes

Chief prose-cutor

Location of court

Official language

Temporal constraints

Geographic constraints

ICTY

May 23, 1993

UN Security Council Resolution 827 (1993)

16 permanentand

up to 9 ad litem

Grave breaches of  Geneva Conventions of 1949; violations of the laws of war; genocide; crimes against humanity

Carla Del Ponte

The Hague, The Nether-lands

English and French

(Serbo-Croat is unofficial)

Crimes commit-

ted since 1991

Territory of the former Yugoslavia

ICTR

Nov. 8, 1994

UN Security Council Resolution

955 (1994)

16 permanent and 18 ad litem judges

Genocide, crimes against humanity, serious violations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949

Hassan Bubacar Jallow

Arusha, Tanzania

English and French

(Kinyarwanda is unofficial)

Crimes commit-

ted between Jan. 1, 1994 and Dec. 1994

Territory of Rwanda

SCSL

Aug. 14, 2000

Treaty between UN and government of Sierra Leone

At least 8, and no more than 11

Crimes against humanity; violations of international humanitarian law; serious crimes under Sierra Leonean law

Desmond de Silva

Freetown,

Sierra Leone

English

(Krio is

unofficial)

Crimes commit-

ted since Nov. 30, 1996

Territory of Sierra Leone

 

 

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

Overview of the Conflict

In this section I intend to give a brief overview of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. For a more detailed account, see Timeline: Yugoslavia.

 

Since the death of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito in 1980 and the fall of Communism in the in early 1990s, Yugoslavia became increasingly unstable politically and socially. The resulting ten-year conflict cost an estimated 300,000 lives and was declared the first official genocide since World War II. Since the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, six successor states have been formed: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia.

 

The Yugoslav conflict was a series of successive wars that involved intra-state civil fighting and outside NATO intervention. In June 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia. After a brief 10-day war, Slovenia succeeded in becoming independent. Croatia had a more difficult road to independence. The Yugoslav government, led by Serb leader Slobodan Milošević sent military forces to thwart Croatia’s efforts at independence. The resulting war lasted from 1991 to 1995. 

 

In January 1992, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia likewise declared independence. The resulting war in Bosnia (1992-1995) was one of the deadliest periods of the conflict. Serb forces lead campaigns of ethnic cleansing against Moslem Bosniaks, with the worst massacre occurring in July 1995 in Srebrenica. The NATO bombing and the Dayton Agreement signed in 1995 ended the war in Bosnia.

 

The next area of conflict centered on Kosovo, an area historically integrated into Serbia. The Albanian minority in Kosovo sought autonomy or independence. Milošević and the Slav government responded with military force and NATO intervened to end the conflict. In 2001, there were smaller-scale conflicts in Macedonia and in southern Serbia.

 

All sides in the Yugoslav conflict were responsible for numerous crimes, including genocide, ethnic cleansing, and mass rape. In April 2001, Milošević was arrested and extradited to the ICTY; he is indicted on crimes of genocide in Bosnia and war crimes in Croatia and Kosovo. The trial of Milošević and others continues to be held in The Hague.

Overview of the Court

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established in 1993 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 827. The ICTY is authorized to prosecute persons responsible for grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws of war, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The ICTY can only hear cases concerning crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991.

 

The ICTY is organized into three Trial Chambers and one Appeals Chamber. Three permanent judges and a maximum of six ad litem judges are members of each Trial Chamber. Seven permanent judges are members of the Appeals Chamber. The working languages of the ICTY are English and French.

Basic Documents

The following basic documents of the ICTY are available at the Court’s official website.

1       Statute of the Tribunal (updated April 2004)

2       National legislations implementing the ICTY Statute (Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, U.K., Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands, Finland, U.S., Italy)

3       Agreements on the enforcement of sentences (U.K., Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Finland, Italy)

4       Rules of Procedure and Evidence

5       Defense Counsel Materials

6       Detention rules, regulations and other materials

7       Practice directions

 

The ICTY basic documents are also available online at the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library.

 

In print, see Basic Documents International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 ([Netherlands:] United Nations, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 1995-).

 

Additionally, the ICTY publishes The Yearbook ([Netherlands]: United Nations, ICTY, 1995-) documenting the activities of the ICTY and recording speeches and other background information.

Case Law

Cases and Judgements are found on the ICTY website. All documents for individual parties are gathered in one place: indictments, judgements, decisions, orders and transcripts. This is the best source for up-to-date case law information.

 

ICTY Judgment Summaries (American University Washington College of Law) See also Status Report for the ICTY.

 

In Westlaw (subscription database requiring a password), ICTY cases are available in the INT-ICTY database.

 

Judicial Reports / International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia = Recueils judiciaires / Tribunal pénal pour l’ex-Yougoslavie (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1999-). This includes indictments, orders, decisions and judgements. It is considered the official print reporter for the ICTY, and is published for and on behalf of the United Nations by Kluwer Law International / Martinus Nijhoff. This set runs approximately five years behind—consult the ICTY website for the most current case law.

 

Global War Crimes Tribunal Collection (Nijmegen, the Netherlands: Global Law Association, 1997-) This commercial source includes trial transcripts, selected full-text judgments, and other materials.

Selected Print Sources & Links

ICTY Print Sources

1       M. Cherif Bassiouni, The Law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Transnational Publishers, 1996).

2       Gideon Boas and William A. Schabas (eds.), International Criminal Law Developments in the Case Law of the ICTY (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2003).

3       Virginia Morris and Michael P. Scharf,  An Insider’s Guide to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Transnational Publishers, 1995).

 

ICTY / Former Yugoslavia Links

1       Milosevic Trial Public Archive - Watch video of the ICTY proceedings.

2       The Centre for Peace in the Balkans

3       Global Policy Forum’s ICTY Page

 

UNMIK Current Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. See the United Nations peacekeeping operations website for past U.N. operations in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

 

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

Overview of the Conflict

The following section briefly outlines of the events surrounding the 1994 Rwandan genocide. For a more thorough treatment see Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (Human Rights Watch).

 

Once a Belgian colony, Rwanda has suffered from ethnic unrest for much of the past century. The Belgian colonists’ favoritism toward the Tutsi tribe at the expense of the majority Hutu tribe created ongoing resentment between these two ethnic groups.

 

In the early 1990s, the Hutus controlled much of the governmental power. Tutsi rebels based in neighboring Uganda formed a rebel unit called the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) which invaded Rwanda in October 1990. Two years of fighting ensued. Following a cease-fire and protracted negotiations, the Arusha Accords were signed in an attempt to bring peace to the country.

 

Ethnic tensions escalated in the following months. Hutu militia began stockpiling weapons and using radio broadcasts to incite Hutus to violence against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. On April 6, 1994, an airplane carrying the Rwandan President Habyarimana and the Burundian President Ntaryamira crashed and both presidents were killed. Shortly following this, the Rwandan Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, was assassinated. These events triggered widespread violence.

 

The Rwandan Genocide lasted 100 days from April until July 1994. Approximately one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by bands of militias known as the Interahamwe. In one of the worst massacres, about 3,000 Tutsis sought protection in a local church; the Interahamwe used bulldozers to knock down the church and killed those who fled with machetes.

 

UNAMIR, the U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda led by General Roméo Dallaire, was limited by its mandate and the small size of its force to evacuating foreign nationals from Rwanda. The genocide ended in July 1994 when the RPF, attacking from neighboring Uganda and Tanzania, defeated the Hutu government.

Overview of the Court

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established in 1994 by United Nations Security Counsel Resolution 955. The ICTR has the power to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law in the territory of Rwanda between January 1, 1994 and December 31, 1994. The ICTR can also prosecute Rwandan citizens who committed such serious crimes in neighboring countries during that same time period.

 

The ICTR has the power to prosecute persons who committed genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. These broad categories of crimes encompass such acts as conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to genocide, murder, torture, rape, the taking of hostages and acts of terrorism.

 

The ICTR is organized into three Trial Chambers and one Appeals Chamber. Three permanent judges and a maximum of four ad litem judges comprise each of the Trial Chambers. Seven permanent judges serve as members of the Appeals Chamber. The working languages of the ICTR are English and French.

Basic Documents

The following basic documents of the ICTR are available at the Court’s official website under “Basic Legal Texts.”

 

1       Security Council Resolutions

2       Statute of the Tribunal

3       Rules of Procedure and Evidence

4       Practice Directions

5       Directives

6       Code of Professional Conduct for Defense Counsel

7       Rules covering the detention of persons awaiting trial or appeal

8       Prosecutor’s Regulation

9       Bilateral Agreements (headquarters agreement between the UN and Tanzania; agreements on the enforcement of sentences of the ICTR between the UN and Sweden, Italy, France, Swaziland, Benin and Mali)

 

In print, see International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Basic Documents (Arusha: Tanzania: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, 1999).

 

Case Law

Cases on the ICTR website. Most up-to-date posting of indictments, decisions, judgements, case minutes, and status of detainees.

 

ICTR Judgment Summaries (American University Washington College of Law) See also Status Report for the ICTR.

 

In Westlaw (subscription database requiring a password), ICTR cases are available in the INT-ICTR database.

 

Eric David (ed.), Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda: recueil des ordonnances, décisions et arrêts, 1995-1997 = International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Reports of Orders, Decisions and Judgements, 1995-1997 (Bruxelles: Bruylant, 2000). Unlike the ICTY, there is no official print reporter for the ICTR. This volume is one print source for ICTR case law.

 

Global War Crimes Tribunal Collection (Nijmegen, the Netherlands: Global Law Association, 1997-) This commercial source includes trial transcripts, selected full-text judgments, and other materials.

Selected Print Sources & Links

Print Sources

1       Virginia Morris and Michael P. Scharf, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Transnational Publishers, 1998).

2       Stephanie K. Wood, A Woman Scorned for the “Least Condemned” War Crime: Precedent and Problems with Prosecuting Rape as a Serious War Crime in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Columbia Journal of Gender and Law v. 13 pp. 274-327.

3       Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003). Although not discussing the ICTR, this personal narrative by the commander of forces for the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Rwanda provides the reader with first-hand insight into the Rwandan genocide and the surrounding military operations.

 

ICTR / Rwanda Links

1       Rwanda Page (African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania)

2       Inkiko Gacaca The Rwandan website of “Gacaca Courts,” an alternative justice system in Rwanda.

3       Rwanda Research Guide (Forced Migration Online)

4       Official Website of the Republic of Rwanda

5       UNAMIR (October 1993 – March 1996) Past U.N. Assistance Mission for Rwanda.

6       AllAfrica.com Comprehensive online African news source.

 

Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

Overview of the Conflict

The conflict in Sierra Leone in the 1990s is complicated, and in this section I only attempt to outline the major political events of the time and introduce the major cast of characters. For a more thorough treatment of this conflict, see Sierra Leone: Armed Conflicts Report.

 

In 1991, a rebel group called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) sought to overthrow the republican government of Sierra Leone. The RUF launched their attacks from neighboring Liberia. An inter-state war ensued between Liberian troops, lead by Liberian President Charles Taylor, and Sierra Leonean troops. In 1996, the President of Sierra Leone, Ahmed Kabbah, negotiated a short-lived ceasefire agreement.

 

Kabbah was overthrown in 1997 by a group called the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). The AFRC invited the RUF to join the government of Sierra Leone. As a result, the rebel RUF / AFRC groups were pitted against the Civil Defense Forces (CDF), a pro-government militia. All sides were responsible for countless crimes against the civilian population, including executions, torture, rape, mutilation and the inscription of child-soldiers.

 

In 1998, Kabbah’s government was reinstated and in 1999 the Lome Peace Agreement was signed, which granted amnesty to members of the RUF. The RUF violated the terms of the Lome Agreement by committing various acts of violence. Fighting erupted once again and additional cease-fire agreements were negotiated. With the assistance of UN peacekeeping forces, disarmament and a reduction of hostilities followed. In 2000, the government of Sierra Leone approached the United Nations and requested assistance in forming a criminal court to try the worst of the perpetrators.

Overview of Court

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is a hybrid court established by an agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone on August 14, 2000. The SCSL is authorized to prosecute persons responsible for the most serious crimes committed on the territory of Sierra Leone since November 30, 1996.

 

The SCSL has the power to prosecute persons who committed the following three categories of crimes: crimes against humanity, crimes in violation of international humanitarian law and serious crimes under Sierra Leonean law. The Special Court is made up of at least eight and no more than eleven judges who are organized into a Trial Chamber and an Appeals Chamber. The working language of the court is English. Currently (July 2005), the SCSL is hearing the trials of nine accused persons, from all three of the former warring factions—the RUF, AFRC and the CDF. The Prosecutor has issued indictments against four other individuals, including former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is still at large.

Basic Documents

All basic documents of the SCSL are available at the Court’s official website.

 

1       Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone on the Establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (16 January 2002)

2       Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (annexed to the Agreement, 16 January 2002)

3       Special Court Agreement (2002) Ratification Act

4       Rules of Procedure and Evidence

5       Headquarters Agreement between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Special Court for Sierra Leone

 

The SCSL basic documents are also available online at the No Peace Without Justice—Sierra Leone site.

 

There is no official print publication of the SCSL basic documents. The SCSL Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence are reprinted in International Criminal Practice (See Multi-Court Sources—Online and In Print, this guide).

Case Law

At this point, no final judgments have been handed down against any of the accused on trial before the SCSL. Indictments, summaries of the charges, decisions, and transcripts are available from the SCSL website for the CDF accused, the RUF accused, and the AFRC accused.

Selected Print Sources & Links

Print Sources

The SCSL is a relative newcomer among international courts. Because of this, scholarship focusing directly on the Special Court can be found primarily in journal articles. Selected articles are listed below; electronically available through databases such as Lexis, Westlaw, Academic Search Premier and/or JSTOR.

 

1       Diane Marie Amann, Calling Children to Account: The Proposal for a Juvenile Chamber in the Special Court for Sierra Leone Pepperdine Law Review v. 29 no. 1 (December 2001) pp. 167-85.

2       Daniel J. Macaluso, Absolute and Free Pardon: The Effect of the Amnesty Provision in the Lome Peace Agreement on the Jurisdiction of the Special Court for Sierra Leone Brooklyn Journal of International Law v. 27 no. 1 (2002) pp. 347-80.

3       M.C. Nicol-Wilson, Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: The United Nations’ Special Court for Sierra Leone Australian International Law Journal (Annual 2001) pp. 159-76.

4       William A. Schabas,  A Synergistic Relationship: The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Sierra Leone Criminal Law Forum v. 15 no. 1 / 2 (2004) pp. 3-54.

 

SCSL / Sierra Leone Links

1       No Peace Without Justice – Special Court

2       Sierra Leone Web A web portal for Sierra Leone.

3       Laws of Sierra Leone Online Selected laws in PDF format, from the 1960s to the present.

4       Important Sierra Leonean Documents Thorough listing of SCSL links and links to various peace accords, ceasefire agreements, official statements, and other documents. 

5       Sierra Leone Page (African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania)

6       Sierra Leone Field Reports (U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Study Center) Weekly updates made by observers of the SCSL participating in a permanent independent monitoring program.

7       UNAMSIL Current U.N. peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone.

8       UNOMSIL (July 1998 – October 1999) Former U.N. observer mission in Sierra Leone.

9       AllAfrica.com Comprehensive online African news source.

 

Multi-court Sources – online and in print

Multi-Court Sources Online

1       Project on International Courts and Tribunals (PICT)

2       International Criminal Tribunals (University of Minnesota)

3       War Crimes Research Portal (Case School of Law)

4       Coalition for International Justice

5       Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Topical Digests of the Case Law of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Human Rights Watch)

 

Multi-Court Sources In Print

1       Rodney Dixon, Karim A.A. Kahn and Richard May (eds.), Archbold: International Criminal Courts, Practice, Procedure of Evidence (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2003).

2       John R.W.D. Jones, International Criminal Practice: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia,            the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Court, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the East Timor Special Panel for Serious Crimes, War Crimes Prosecutions in Kosovo (Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 2003).

3       André Klip and Göran Sluiter (eds.), Annotated Leading Cases of International Criminal Tribunals (Antwerpen: Intersentia, 1999-).

4       Geert-Jan G.J. Knoops, An Introduction to the Law of International Criminal Tribunals: A Comparative Study (Ardsley: Transnational Publishers, 2003).

5       Geert-Jan G.J. Knoops, Surrendering to International Criminal Courts: Contemporary Practice and Procedures (Ardsley: Transnational Publishers, 2002).

 

Research Institutes & Educational Resources

The Genocide Studies Program at Yale University hosts a Rwandan Genocide Project, a source of articles, maps and the beta version of a victims database.

 

The University of Memphis and the Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College campus supports the Genocide Resource Project, which has produced Genocide: Resources for Teaching and Research. The site includes syllabi for courses on genocide, and links on the Balkans, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

 

The International War Crimes Project (New England School of Law) Law students involved in this project provide legal research and analysis to the Prosecutors of the ICTY and the ICTR.

 

Other Research Guides

1       War Crimes (Georgetown University Law Center)

2       International Criminal Courts (Southern Methodist University)

3       Research Guide: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Columbia Law School)

4       International Criminal Law (ASIL)

 

Selected Bibliography

 

The following print and online sources were consulted in writing the “Overview of the Conflict” sections of this guide:

 

1       Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2004 (Detroit: Gale Research, 1980-).

2       George Childs Kohn, Dictionary of Wars (New York: Facts on File, c1999).

3       Micheal Clodfelter, Warfare and Armed Conflict A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500-2000 (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2001).

4       Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (Human Rights Watch) -http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/rwanda/

5       Sierra Leone: Armed Conflicts Report (Project Ploughshares) - http://www.ploughshares.ca/content/ACR/ACR00/ACR00-SierraLeone.html

6       Timeline: Yugoslavia (Infoplease) - http://www.infoplease.com/spot/yugotimeline1.html