Field interpreters accompanied the first group of lawyers and other volunteers into the war zone to collect witness statements for an exploratory expert commission, even before the Tribunal was established by the Security Council in 1993. These interpreters later formed the core of the ICTY language services during the initial investigative phase. The international community may not have believed that the Tribunal would adjudicate, that there would ever be indictees or trials or convictions, but committed judges and prosecutors made it a far more powerful institution than anyone had imagined when they set it up. During the second phase, as the first trials began, the language services had to expand rapidly to meet the interpreting and translation demands of the growing number of trials and investigations. The progress of the institution was dizzying. The first indictee was arrested in 1995 and three trials had finished and another five were under way by the summer of 1998; a third courtroom was being designed and indictees were arrested almost every month. When investigations ended in 2004, the Tribunal entered its third phase, with the three courtrooms in session every morning and afternoon and seven to ten trials running concurrently. As this book goes to press there are only four trials and 16 appeals left to adjudicate; the fourth phase began on 1 July 2013, known as the residual mechanism (officially: the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals or MICT), during which these last trials and appeals will be completed and a core of staff will remain at the Tribunal, maintaining the archive, ensuring enforcement of sentences and protection of witnesses, and providing assistance to national jurisdictions (MICT site).


Security Council Defence Attorney International Criminal Tribunal Defence Counsel Welfare Officer 
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Copyright information

© Ellen Elias-Bursać 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Elias-Bursać
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent Scholar and Literary TranslatorUSA

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