The UN Security Council [official website] on Friday commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive]. On May 25, 1993, the UN passed Resolution 827 [resolution, PDF], which established the ICTY as an "ad hoc measure" for the prosecution of "persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law" in the wake of "continuing reports of widespread and flagrant violations" occurring within the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time, reports indicated "mass killings, massive, organized and systematic detention and rape of women, and the continuance of the practice of 'ethnic cleansing'" during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive], which left approximately 100,000 people dead and about 2.2 million homeless. Since its inception 19 years ago, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons. In addition the Security Council praised the forthcoming International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) [official website] located in the Hague. The UN established the MICT in December 2010 to take over the work of the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] once their charters expire in 2014. The UN urged both tribunals to continue in the fight against impunity [UN News Centre report].
In March the ICTY sentenced [JURIST report] two former Bosnian Serb police officers to 22 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Bosnian civil war that spanned from 1992-95. Former interior minister Mico Stanisic and his subordinate, Stojan Zupljanin, faced charges [JURIST report] of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and torture of Muslims and ethnic Croats, as part of a plan to establish "a Serb state, as ethnically 'pure' as possible." The ICTR was established by UN Security Council in 1994 to investigate and prosecute alleged prominent players of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Since then the ICTR has heard more than 70 cases [ICTR case index] and is set to dissolve in 2014 after hearing its final 15 appeals in light of the completion of its trial mandate.