Throughout the history of warfare, from ancient times to contemporary wars, it has been quite common to find a ‘hero’ and a ‘criminal’ embodied in the same person, depending on the interpretation of each party to the conflict. The Yugoslav wars at the end of the last century generated many such cases where the same individuals were glorified as heroes and demonised as war criminals. This has gone as far as treating the persons sentenced by a court of justice to welcoming rallies and receptions organised by their ‘own’ communities. On the other hand, those acquitted are still considered to be war criminals by the opposite ethnic group. As much as this phenomenon may seem absurd, it is a part of the post-war reality and persists representing a serious obstacle for the process of reckoning with the past, not to mention reconciliation. International humanitarian law represents an attempt to overcome such anomalies by clearly defining violations of laws of war, regardless of the demonstrated bravery or ‘patriotism’ of those committing war crimes. Furthermore, a system of international criminal justice was put in place to guarantee judicial impartiality and independence in prosecuting and trying individuals for committing delicta contra juris gentium. By definition, a huge number of victims affected by the atrocities during the wars in the former Yugoslavia is supposed to find satisfaction and some form of vindication in the indictments and judgments proclaimed by war crimes tribunals. The work and the delivery of justice by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), including recent prosecutions referred to, and conducted by, national (or hybrid) war crimes chambers in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, have not yet been systematically evaluated in the context of the victim’s expectations. It is safe to say that the ICTY has done a remarkable job, given the time and the circumstances in which it was bound to work. Obstacles abound: not least that the Tribunal has depended, by and large, on cooperation from countries that were supposed to apprehend ‘their own’ indicted persons; it worked under pressure from different sources; and it has a time-limited mandate. Nevertheless, the ICTY Chief Prosecutor has indicted 161 persons for serious violations of international humanitarian law. As of

March 2013, proceedings have been concluded for 136 accused. Out of those, 18 persons were acquitted, 69 sentenced and 13 referred to a national jurisdiction. Meanwhile, 36 had their indictments withdrawn or are deceased.1