As a UN court begins its last trial against Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic this week, thousands of suspects remain to be tried for atrocities committed during a decade of Balkans wars.
Set up by the United Nations in 1993, the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague is tasked with trying senior military and political officials until the court closes its chambers in 2014.
Meanwhile, local courts in the former Yugoslav republics are empowered to handle war crimes cases at a lower level.
"We (judges and prosecutors) were here even before, but there was no political will to enable us to do our jobs," as violence swept the former Yugoslav republics, Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic told AFP.
"If we had done our jobs (at the time) there would have been no Srebrenica, no Sarajevo, no Vukovar," atrocities committed in these towns that have become tragic symbols of notorious war crimes, Vukcevic said.
So far, Vukcevic's office has indicted 145 people, 63 of them already sentenced for war crimes committed in Bosnia, Kosovo and Croatia.
More than 130,000 people were killed during the 1990s conflicts that tore the former Yugoslavia apart, among them 100,000 in Bosnia alone.
"Families of all these people are still waiting for justice to be served," Vukcevic noted.
Expelled from his village Barimo, eastern Bosnia, by Bosnian Serb troops early in the war, Suljo Fejzic, 49, is still waiting for suspects to be charged with the murder of about 30 civilians, including many of his relatives.
"We can overcome and maybe live in peace only when we know who killed our loved ones," Fejzic said.
In Bosnia, there are around 4,500 suspects, estimates prosecutor Dragan Corlija of the State Court that deals with war crimes.
And probes have yet to start into more than 1,000 cases, he added.
"The State Court ... will not succeed alone and support from all levels of justice is necessary," UN war crimes prosecutor Serge Brammertz said recently.
Seven years after the court was set up, only 230 people have been sentenced.
Yury Afanasiev of the United Nations mission in Bosnia charged with helping local justice officials, warned that war "criminals are walking on the streets all over" the country.
"It is no secret to anybody," he said.
In 2008, the Bosnian government adopted a strategy aimed at wrapping up most of the cases within 15 years, but it is hard to see how it will succeed.
Most cases should be transferred to 15 regional courts, said Milorad Novkovic, chairman of the High Judicial Council that oversees the local justice.
But verdicts are often contested and many of the war crimes suspects are still celebrated as heroes in their communities.
"Everyone supports punishment of war crimes in principle... but each community refuses to accept that the crimes have been committed by its camp," analyst Esad Hecimovic warned.
In Bosnia, the mandate of international justice officials tasked with helping local counterparts ends in late 2012.
In Kosovo however, war crimes cases are handled only by international magistrates, due to the sensitivity of the issue after 1998-1999 war.
Often criticised for its failure to address the atrocities committed during the 1991-1995 war, Croatia is set to join the European Union next year after improving its legal systems during six-year long talks with Brussels.
In 2011, four war crimes courts were set up in the country.
But there is still lot of work to be done, warns Serbia's Vukcevic.
Dozens of suspects in the region use double citizenship to flee from one former Yugoslav republic to another, many of which do not allow extradition of its nationals.
Prosecutors hope their states will soon sign accords allowing them to try suspects in the country of residence, putting an end to their evasion of justice.