The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network has launched a unique database of the publicly-available final verdicts delivered in 386 war crimes cases by courts in the former Yugoslavia and by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
This War Crimes Verdicts Map is an interactive tool intended to provide an overview of court rulings on the crimes that were committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
“While reporting on war crimes, we as journalists often struggled to get all the documents related to the war crimes cases we have been following. Through the years, we accumulated a significant archive and then also collected verdicts from the various courts,” said the map project’s team leader, Marija Ristic.
“Bearing in mind how closed to the public our courts still are, we believe this map will be a unique resource for journalists, students, researchers and the general public,” she added.
According to the map data, so far at least 646 people have been convicted by local courts and 83 more by the ICTY for crimes committed during almost a decade of conflict in the former Yugoslavia which left some 125,000 people dead and 12,000 still missing.
Besides the verdicts, the ‘Resources’ section includes indictments and other case records.
The map will be periodically updated.
The Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) offers an online database referencing a selection of open-source materials, primarily from the United Nations, governments, and international, regional & civil society organizations, related to the prevention of mass atrocity crimes.
GAAMAC is a state-led initiative dedicated to the prevention of mass atrocity crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing) at the national and regional level. GAAMAC provides support to states engaged in preventing mass atrocity crimes and assists states that are considering developing preventive strategies. GAAMAC also serves as a platform for exchange and dissemination of learning and good practices.
The first international GAAMAC meeting was held in San José in March 2014 and gathered state representatives around the need of a “Community of Commitment, Community of Practice”.
Today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has made available on its online, free of charge Customary IHL database an update of State practice of 7 countries and 3 tribunals relating to armed conflicts and humanitarian issues such as the distinction between combatants and civilians, the use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the protection of internally displaced persons, the protection of children and in particular child soldiers, the prohibition of sexual violence and slavery, the integration of international humanitarian law (IHL) into the training and operations of armed forces, and the prosecution of war crimes.
Practice up till the end of 2010 of the following countries has been included for this most recent update of the Database: Armenia, Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Georgia, Nepal and New Zealand. Case-law of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice dealing with questions of IHL has also been updated. New practice is marked in green throughout the database.
The purpose of the Customary IHL database is to make not only the rules of customary IHL but also the underlying State and international practice easily accessible by everyone interested in the interpretation and application of IHL. The information in the database is easily accessible by means of three search parameters: subject matter, type of practice and country, which can be used separately or can be combined in a powerful search engine.
The database will continue to be updated with practice from about 100 countries and a number of relevant international bodies. The next updates of both national and international practice are scheduled for June and July 2014.