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Justice For Victims of Mass Atrocities


Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic at the courtroom of the U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. (File)

Justice is being served through the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Those accused of the worst atrocities should face justice.

That is what is happening through the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, or ICTY, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, or ICTR. “The ICTY [and] ICTR,” said U.S. Alternate Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs David Pressman, “are a reminder that where there is a will, perpetrators of mass atrocities can indeed be brought to justice.”

The United States supports the ICTY’s ongoing efforts to complete its remaining trials and appeals expeditiously to ensure that accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity is placed squarely on the shoulders of the individuals responsible. Completion of these trials is especially important as the world prepares to mark the 20th anniversary this year of the Srebrenica massacre, which remains the single worst crime committed in Europe since World War II.

The effort to ensure that those accused by the ICTY – all 161 out of 161, and from all sides in the conflict, whether Serbs, Croats, or Bosniaks – were brought to justice was unprecedented in the history of international justice. It required the international community to use the full range of resources: legal, financial, and political.

In Rwanda, the United States remains deeply committed to apprehending the nine remaining fugitives, and continues to offer rewards of up to five million dollars for information leading to the arrest of indicted individuals. Three of them are believed to have carried out key roles in the Rwandan genocide: Félicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of the atrocities; Augustin Bizimana, the minister of defense alleged to have ordered his subordinates to commit horrific crimes; and Protais Mpiranya, the commander of the Presidential Guard, alleged to have carried out targeted assassinations from the moment the genocide began.

The ICTY and ICTR have ensured justice for the victims of some of the worst mass murderers and criminals in the history of the world. “Their work and legacy,” said Ambassador Pressman, “should serve as a reminder . . . that we will fulfill our commitment to the victims of these atrocities and their survivors, because we cannot and we will not forget.”

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