Judicial Development of the Law of Defences by the International Criminal Tribunals

Caroline Fournet

in Judicial Creativity at the International Criminal Tribunals

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199591466
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595585 | DOI:
Judicial Development of the Law of Defences by the International Criminal Tribunals

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While necessarily central to the efficacy and legitimacy of international criminal justice, the law relating to the permissible defences is yet to be definitively codified. The Statutes of both the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals are ambiguous as to the defences that may be raised with such questions being left to the discretion of the bench. This chapter looks at the manner in which the ICTY and ICTR have gone about developing the law of defences in the international criminal context. It looks at issues including the use of the principle of legality as a defence ‘of sorts’, while looking at more traditionally identifiable defences such superior orders, duress, mental incapacity, self-defence, and tu quoque. It is clear that in the absence of any clear guidelines the ad hoc Tribunals have had at times to engage in creative judicial interpretation on the question of defences.

Keywords: international criminal law; defences; judicial interpretation; sources of law; tribunals

Chapter.  11940 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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