Lessons from the Slobodan Milosevic Trial
This 76-page report examines key evidence introduced at trial, the most comprehensive account to date of the conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The report finds that the trial revealed how leaders in Belgrade and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia financed the wars; how they provided material to Croatian and Bosnian Serbs; and how they created administrative and personnel structures to support the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb armies. The report traces the mechanisms, some of which were previously secret, by which Belgrade fueled the conflicts.
The arrest and surrender of Slobodan Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was a watershed moment for international justice. It was an event many never thought would happen and created both high hopes and a great deal of controversy in the Balkans and beyond. Milosevic’s death on March 11, 2006, was an unfortunate end to the “trial of the century.” It deprived victims of horrific crimes in the former Yugoslavia of a verdict after the most comprehensive proceedings on the conflicts there. Furthermore, while the four-year duration of the trial and Milosevic’s frequent courtroom grandstanding had already raised concerns and questions about the trial, his death ignited a round of criticism about the efficiency and viability of these trials. The criticism was seen by many as a setback for justice through an international criminal tribunal.