Introduction to the Hague Tribunal

Introduction to the Hague war crimes process, both regarding the law and history of the court and also practical information for visitors.

ICTY Press Contacts


There is no walk-in access. Phone and someone will meet you in the lobby. They will give you a press pack, with latest facts and figures, plus you can get copies of all indictments. All information is available in English, French, Albanian and Bosnian-Croat-Serb.

Press office spokesperson:
Nerma Jelacic
Tel: 031-(0)70-512-5066 or 031-(0)70-512-5343


No advance accreditation is normally required. Turn up at the front gate security and show passport and a press ID card. You will be given a press pass granting you access to the lobby, media areas and the courtrooms.

There are limited desks inside for visiting journalists, with electricity for computers but no access to the internet, except on key dates when WiFi is available.

For key dates, accreditation may have to be applied for in advance. Check the ICTY website or with the press office for details.

Note: Mobile phones can be brought inside the lobby, but phones and computers cannot be taken into the court rooms. You can leave them in safe deposit boxes, available free, at the front entrance. 

History of the Hague Tribunal

  • 1919
    Article 227 Treaty of Versailles proposes Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties.
  • 1920
    Assembly of League of Nations rejects idea of High Court of International Justice as "premature".
  • 1937
    League of Nations signed Convention for International Criminal Court to try terrorist offences. Never became law.
  • 1945
    Nuremberg Tribunal.
  • 1946
    Tokyo Tribunal.
  • 1948
    UN asks International Law Commission to study a Criminal Chamber of the International Court of Justice.
  • 1989
    UN asks the ILC to again study idea of International Criminal Court.
  • 1993
    ILC begins work.
  • June 1991
    Croatia and Slovenia secede from Yugoslavia. War begins.
  • April 1992
    Bosnian war starts following referendum on independence. 100,000 to 200,000 killed in 4 years.
  • October 1992
    UN Resolution 780 proposes creation of tribunal.
  • February 1993
    UN Resolution 808 creates the tribunal.
  • May 1993
    International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia set up.
  • April 1994
    Genocide in Rwanda kills 500,000 to 1 million Tutsis killed.
  • November 1995
    Dayton Peace Agreement ends Bosnia and Croatia wars.
  • May 1997
    First ICTY conviction: Dusan Tadic, Serb former detention camp guard.
  • July 1997
    NATO commandos launch first arrest raid against Tribunal indictee.
  • November 1997
    First sighting of guerrillas of Kosovo Liberation Army.
  • March 1998
    68 Ethnic Albanians die at Prekaz, Kosovo, in attack by Serbian security forces. Guerrilla war spreads across province.
  • March 1999
    NATO begins bombing Serbia. 860,000 Ethnic Albanians removed from Kosovo by Serbian security forces.
  • May 27 1999
    ICTY indicts Slobodan Milosevic for Crimes Against Humanity.
  • October 2000
    Milosevic loses Yugoslav presidential election.
  • June 2001
    Milosevic arrested by Serbian police. Handed over to NATO and flown to ICTY.
  • February 2002
    Milosevic trial begins.
  • March 2006
    Milosevic dies in prison before his trial ends. A judgement is never rendered.
  • July 2008
    Former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic is arrested in Belgrade after 13 years on the run.
  • October 2009
    Prosecutors deliver opening statements in the Karadzic trial, but the accused - who represents himself - boycotts the proceedings. He is then assigned a "stand-by counsel" who can take over if Karadzic boycotts again.
  • March 2010
    Karadzic delivers his own opening statements.
  • April 2010
    First witnesses testify in Karadzic trial. Accused continues to represent himself, but stand-by counsel attends each court session.
  • May 2011
    General Ratko Mladic, ex-commander of the Bosnian Serb army, is arrested in Serbia after 16 years as a fugitive.