Editorial: International criminal tribunals

31 March 2006

March 2006 has been a black month for the UN tribunal authorities in The Hague. Not only has the nationalist Serb war criminal Milan Babic committed suicide in his prison cell, but the man against whom Babic testified in 2002, Slobodan Milosevic – the first head of state to be indicted for war crimes – has also died. Milosevic's trial was being seen as a crucial test of international law. The former Yugoslav president's death doubtless diminishes the legacy of the most important court to be established in Europe since the end of the Second World War. Despite a four-year trial, the world will never know with legal certainty whether the genocide charge against him would have been proved.