The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
was formed on 25 May 1993 when the United Nations passed Resolution
827. It is an investigative, legal body aimed at bringing to justice
those who committed crimes against humanity; crimes such as genocide,
torture, ethnic cleansing, running prison camps and rape. In order to
create a safe and secure environment, SFOR detains Persons Indicted
for War Crimes (PIFWCs) when it comes across them in the course of its
normal duties. Photo at right shows an ICTY exhumation team bringing
to light the sad evidence of a mass killing in Bosnia and Herzegovina
In a press conference in Sarajevo on13 March 2000, Lord Robertson, the
Secretary General of NATO, stated that "All those who have been
indicted will eventually face trial in The Hague and the sooner they
realise that they cannot escape, the better it will be. And, my clear
message is that they should turn themselves in, and those who are protecting
them should stop doing it now".
The role of SFOR
SFOR's mandate is to provide a 'safe and secure environment',
and the presence of PIFWCs is a major obstruction to the peace process.
There are both public and sealed indictments; the latter were introduced
because civilian authorities were not detaining publicly indicted persons.
SFOR has the authority to detain, and transfer to the ICTY, indicted
persons when they come into contact with them in the course of their
normal duties. This was agreed by all the parties through the signing
of the GFAP.
date, SFOR has detained 23 PIFWCS. This figure does not include the
17 detained overseas, 2 that were killed during the detention process
and the 22 who have surrendered themselves voluntarily. This means that
67% of publicly indicted PIFWC's have been accounted for. Arrests include
General Stanislav Galic, who is accused of atrocities whilst in command
of the Bosnian Serb forces, during the siege of Sarajevo. He was detained
on 20 November 1999 and has since pleaded not guilty to charges of crimes
against humanity. On 3 April 2000, SFOR elements detained Momcilo Krajisnik.
He is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, violations of the
Laws and Customs of War, crimes against humanity and grave breaches
of the Geneva Conventions. During the War, Krajisnik served as a member
of the senior Bosnian Serb leadership.
SFOR restructuring did not imply a change in SFOR's support to the ICTY.
Mrs Carla Del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor for the ICTY, said, "I
have received assurance from COMSFOR (...) that the Tribunal will continue
to receive the same high level of support from SFOR..."
The detention of PIFWCs is the responsibility of all signatories to
the GFAP; in particular, all the law enforcement agencies within Bosnia
and Herzegovina. 'Closing the book on past tragedies also means there
can be no reconciliation until those who have been indicted for war
crimes exit the stage. Steadily, SFOR is catching up on them, and they
should know that it's only a matter of time.' (Lord Robertson)