International tribunals

The United Nations establishes international tribunals for the purpose of prosecuting war criminals. The Netherlands is host country to a number of these tribunals, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

International and domestic law

The first international tribunals were set up in the 1990s to investigate crimes committed by military personnel, politicians and civilians during armed conflict. The tribunals report to the United Nations Security Council.

There are currently five tribunals in existence:

These tribunals operate in accordance with the law of the country in question or a combination of domestic and international law. Their judges are also drawn from the country concerned and the international community.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was established in 1993 by the United Nations Security Council. The ICTY prosecutes individuals suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and violations of the Geneva Conventions committed from 1991 onwards in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The Netherlands is host to the tribunal, which has its seat in The Hague.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

The United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994. The ICTR prosecutes those who are responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its seat is in Arusha, Tanzania. The Netherlands is a member of the Friends of the ICTR and the Dutch embassy in Kigali is working to strengthen of the rule of law in Rwanda.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established in 2002 on the basis of a treaty between the United Nations and Sierra Leone. The SCSL prosecutes violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law. Along with a number of other countries, the Netherlands is a member of the SCSL Management Committee, which advises the court on administrative matters. The Netherlands hosted the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, which for security reasons was conducted at the International Criminal Court.

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)

The United Nations and Cambodia established the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in 2006 to prosecute those responsible for crimes committed during the rule of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979).The tribunal has its seat in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and applies both Cambodian and international law.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)

The United Nations and Lebanon established the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2007 and it opened in 2009. The STL is prosecuting those suspected of carrying out the attack on 14 February 2005 in which the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, was killed. The tribunal applies Lebanese law on terrorism.

The Netherlands hosts the STL and is a member of the Management Committee, which is responsible for giving policy direction and advice on non-judicial aspects of the Tribunal's work.