Closing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Press Statement
Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 21, 2017


The United States congratulates the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which will close its doors on December 31, 2017, on its many achievements. Since the inception of the ICTY in 1993, the United States has steadfastly supported the Tribunal’s work. We applaud the Tribunal’s record, which includes indicting 161 senior leaders of regional governments, militaries, and paramilitaries for their roles in atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

While we recognize the ICTY’s contributions to justice and reconciliation in the Balkans, we also believe there are lessons to learn from its experiences. We must work to deliver justice for victims efficiently and cost-effectively, while also prioritizing forums closer to where the crimes occurred, and with greater inclusion of victims in the process.

The pursuit of justice in the Balkans is not over. We call on national authorities to resolve remaining cases in their jurisdictions and to cooperate with one another and the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to that end. The ICTY demonstrated that we can hold accountable those who commit the gravest of offenses. As it closes its doors, we also give notice to perpetrators of atrocities anywhere in the world that the United States remains committed to seeking accountability for their crimes.