Chapter

Judicial Interpretation at the <i>Ad Hoc</i> Tribunals: Method From Chaos?

Joseph Powderly

in Judicial Creativity at the International Criminal Tribunals

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199591466
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591466.003.0002
Judicial Interpretation at the Ad Hoc Tribunals: Method From Chaos?

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The absence from the Statutes of the ad hoc Tribunals of a provision explicitly setting down the interpretational methodology to be applied by the bench ensured that the only barrier to judicial creativity was the principle of legality and fidelity to customary international law. While the laconic nature of the Statutes may have weakened the traditional shackles on judicial law-making, they also gave rise to an element of interpretational uncertainty. This chapter shows that the application of these rules, particularly with respect to customary international law, has been at best unpredictable. It examines the manner in which the ad hoc Tribunals have applied the rules of interpretation which appear to have been open to them by analogy. It argues that the application of these rules, while for the most part justified, was frequently chaotic and unsystematic. The results obtained, however, were undoubtedly responsible for the progressive development of international criminal and humanitarian law.

Keywords: international criminal law; judicial interpretation; sources of law; customary international law; law of treaties; Statutes

Chapter.  14966 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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