Document Type


Publication Date

May 2008


This groundbreaking report published by the Open Society Justice Initiative examines the impact in Serbia of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).Shrinking the Space for Denial: The Impact of the ICTY in Serbia is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the court's impact in a country directly affected by its work. The report by Diane Orentlicher, professor of international law at American University's Washington College of Law and special counsel to the Justice Initiative, is published in conjunction with the 15th anniversary of the ICTY's founding.The 134-page report provides a detailed look at the ICTY's role and challenges in:dispelling the impunity of Serbians accused of playing a key role in atrocities committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s;contributing to Serbian society's progress in acknowledging and condemning Serbian leaders' and institutions' role in those atrocities; andstrengthening the rule of law in Serbia.Shrinking the Space for Denial also assesses how the ICTY's own performance has affected its impact in Serbia, with a special focus on the trial of Slobodan Milošević.While focusing on the ICTY's impact in Serbia, Shrinking the Space for Denial notes that Serbia's failure to arrest Ratko Mladić or to ensure the arrest of Radovan Karadžić—more than a dozen years after their indictment on genocide charges—risks overwhelming the tribunal's positive impact on victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the words of a Bosnian woman interviewed by Professor Orentlicher, the ICTY has done "so many good things but they're in the shadow of Karadžić and Mladić."The report is based on interviews with scores of key figures from the ICTY and knowledgeable sources in Serbia, as well as an extensive review of the court's history and jurisprudence.Published by the Open Society Justice Initiative (2008), available at