The international community has witnessed many human rights violations which have also constituted violations of international humanitarian law throughout the twentieth century. After the Second World War the nature of armed conflicts and the method of warfare have changed remarkably; armed conflicts mainly become internal or internationalised in character, and civilians and civilian objects are often targeted. Two of the worst violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law occurred in the territories of the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda in the last decade of the twentieth century. There cannot be any doubt that the situations in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda constituted threats to international peace and security.The large-scale killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence, 'ethnic cleansing', genocide and other types of crimes committed in these two regions of the world impelled the international community to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice.To achieve this purpose and to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, the only way was to establish an international criminal tribunal by means of a Security Council Resolution which was in compliance with the urgency of the events that had occurred in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. With this background, the UN Security Council established the ICTY and the ICTR acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter 'to do justice, to deter further crimes, and to contribute to the restoration and main-tenance of peace'. 1
In contrast to the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals, the ICTY and the ICTR were established neither by the victors as a 'victor's court or justice' nor by the parties involved in the conflict, but rather by the UN Security Council on behalf of the entire international community in order to protect international peace and security. For this reason, the establishment of these International Tribunals was innovative in character, and their establishment should be seen as a contemporary example of the application of international humanitarian law for enforcing individual responsibility when the violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights law occurred. 2
1. See Chapter 1, note 109.
2. See Chapter 1, note 110.