The Protection of Victims in War Crimes Trials



International criminal courts and tribunals rely mainly on victim testimony to establish the occurrence of war crimes. These institutions face important challenges in protecting victims. Many victims are reluctant to provide testimony in fear of retaliation. For these persons, testifying requires an act of courage, especially because persons allegedly involved in the crimes still walk the streets of their villages and towns. International courts have developed protection mechanisms to address the security concerns of victims. In doing so, they have had to reconcile the conflicting rights of victims and defendants. The experience of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia captures some of the challenges faced by international courts in victim protection. It also provides valuable lessons to future courts.


Victims Protective measures Contempt Witness intimidation International criminal justice War crimes trials 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of the ProsecutionInternational Criminal Tribunal for the Former YugoslaviaThe HagueThe Netherlands

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