Throughout the twentieth century, the international community has witnessed many human rights violations that have also constituted violations of international humanitarian law. Two of the worst violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law occurred in the territories of the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda in the last decade of the twentieth century. The large scale of killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence, 'ethnic cleansing', genocide and other types of crimes committed in these two regions of the world impelled the international community to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice. Thus, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in 1993 and in 1994 respectively.
The establishment of the ICTY and the ICTR was innovative in character since it was established by the Security Council on behalf of the entire international community. This development also paved the way for the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998.
"Implementing International Humanitarian Law" examines the international humanitarian law rules and their application by the ad hoc tribunals with regard to the substantive laws of the ICTY and the ICTR. The practice of the ICTY and the ICTR and their contribution to international humanitarian law, together with their possible impact on the ICC, is examined in light of the decisions rendered by the ad hoc tribunals and of the latest international humanitarian law instruments such as the 1996 ILC Draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind and the ICC Statute.