Tribunals both judged the Yugoslav wars and narrated them. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), established in 1993, was an integral part of the UN’s response to the Bosnian conflict. Its rationale was not only deterrence but also the idea of ‘transitional justice’: the suggestion that investigating and trying war crimes revealed authoritative evidence and forced post-war societies to ‘come to terms with the past’. ‘Transitional justice’ implied that, for a society to move past wartime antagonisms and find peace, public accountability for the crimes that were committed during a conflict was required. This might occur during war crimes trials or at a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ (TRC), which hears testimony but does not pass sentence. Transitional justice was intended as transformative, stabilizing a society’s social and political relations, and international institutions were heavily involved; indeed, some argued that making the ‘transition’ into a new social understanding of history became an international standard for how societies should deal with past crimes after the Yugoslav wars [381: 5].
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