This article considers the contribution of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to the grave breaches regime as the first body to systematically apply these provisions, and argues that the jurisprudence has breathed life into the regime. It has clarified when grave breaches may apply, through the elucidation of the "overall control' test in establishing the internationality of a conflict; how the regime may be applied in a practice, through the operation of a nexus requirement; and who may benefit from the protection of the regime, through a modern interpretation of "protected person'. It is argued that the ICTY has significantly contributed to the definition of underlying grave breaches. With respect to torture, the contribution has been both with respect to the identification of comprised acts, such as rape and other abuses of a sexual nature, as well as in distinguishing the definition from that applied under the Torture Convention. Concerning unlawful confinement, the contribution has focused on interpreting the interaction of different provisions of Geneva Convention IV to bring the breach to life. Ironically, some of these positive contributions may have had the unintended consequence of reducing the role of grave breaches in the charging practices of the Prosecution.
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