Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) and the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) yesterday hosted more than 870 visitors as part of the ninth annual The Hague International Open Day, organised by the Municipality of The Hague.

Judge Carmel Agius, for the first time in his capacity as President of the ICTY, opened the event by recognising the Tribunal’s significant achievements over the past twenty-three years, both in fulfilling its mandate and as a pioneering international criminal tribunal. He also remarked on the unique time in which the ICTY celebrates this year’s International Day:

In these final stages of the Tribunal’s mandate and in addition to its remaining judicial work, we are both looking back, to ensure the archiving and preservation of its most important records, and looking forward, to engage with government, civil society, and institutional partners here, in the region of the former Yugoslavia, and abroad.”

Judge Burton Hall welcomed the visitors on behalf of the MICT, and explained that organisation’s pivotal role in undertaking remaining judicial functions of both the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Guests had a unique opportunity to peek “behind the scenes” of international criminal justice and learn about the inner workings of the two institutions, through tours of the courtrooms, discussions with judges and senior staff members, documentary screenings, and exhibitions.

The event highlighted the contributions of the ICTY and MICT to the field of international criminal justice. Judges Alphons Orie and Bakone Justice Moloto provided insights into the role of international Judges, while senior staff members explained the mandates and history of the ICTY and MICT, explored the work of the two institutions’ different organs, and discussed the ICTY’s specific achievements in areas such as the prosecution of sexual violence in times of war. Throughout the day, visitors attended screenings of the latest ICTY Outreach documentary productions and viewed exhibited artefacts from the ICTY’s archives.

As the ICTY approaches the completion of its mandate and the MICT continues to intensify its judicial activities, both institutions welcome opportunities such as The Hague International Open Day to promote a greater public awareness of their work and to engage with the wider community.