Judge Kevin Parker outlines the complexity of the ICTY process, 2008

Transcript of sound recording

We have very big and complex cases - nothing like the ordinary domestic offences, say where you might get one or two people murdered. We tend to have hundreds of people murdered over a prolonged time by very many people.

That means that the process of hearing the evidence of what happened becomes very prolonged. It's made longer because we have to work in several languages. At the least, we work in three languages. The case I've just finished, we worked in six languages simultaneously because different witnesses, different victims, different accused, and the lawyers representing them, were speaking different languages. The process of interpretation means that things move much more slowly than if everybody was speaking the one language. That means that trials typically, in our tribunal, take much more than a year. The average is nearly a year and a half. Some trials have lasted over two years, and one has lasted more than four years.

When the evidence finishes, and the parties have made their addresses, it's necessary then for the court to sit down and go over all that evidence, weigh it all up, and reach a decision as to whether each of the accused persons has been proved to be guilty, and that means weighing up all those months and months and months of evidence. And not only do you hear witnesses for that time, but you receive hundreds and hundreds of documents, and you've got to review all of those as well.

A case that I have just finished, the evidence took some 14 months, and we had over 2,000 written documents, some of those being over 200 pages a document, so the process was very long. We managed to produce a decision and a written judgement of some 250 pages in two months. So the final decision was reached two months after the finish of the evidence in the case.