Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Since 1991, a brutal war has raged among ethnic groups of the former Yugoslavia. Outraged by the atrocities that have pervaded the war, the United Nations established an international tribunal in 1993 to adjudicate violations of international humanitarian law committed in the Yugoslav conflict. Although well-intentioned, the Yugoslav Tribunal nevertheless may fail to accomplish its goals. A number of practical and legal obstacles may impede its success. In particular, the United Nations lack of physical control over the combatants in the Yugoslav conflict may frustrate the Tribunal's ability to bring accused war criminals to justice. This Note surveys the problems that the Yugoslav Tribunal may encounter in attempting to prosecute violations of international humanitarian law. It examines the successes and failures of past war crimes tribunals and analyzes the integrity of the law the Yugoslav Tribunal will apply. This Note concludes that even if the Yugoslav Tribunal fails in its immediate goal of prosecuting war criminals, it may nevertheless expedite a peaceful resolution to the conflict and strengthen the stature of international humanitarian law.