Anatomy of an International Criminal Tribunal (Manley O Hudson Medal Lecture)

Theodor Meron

in The Making of International Criminal Justice

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608935
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729706 | DOI:
Anatomy of an International Criminal Tribunal (Manley O Hudson Medal Lecture)

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This chapter focuses on the ad hoc Tribunals on whose Appeals Chambers the author serves — the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). It discusses how the Tribunals actually work. The ad hoc Tribunals' anatomy is not just the sum of many disjointed solutions to disconnected practical problems. Rather, this anatomy has developed, in significant part, as a result of two broad considerations. The first is the need to ensure substantive and procedural fairness and to ensure that the Tribunals are perceived as acting legitimately. The second is the fact that the Tribunals exist outside the framework of any state, and that they therefore must function in the absence of any corresponding legislative or executive body. Despite these challenges, the Tribunals have done a good job of ensuring both fairness and efficacy outside the framework of a state. Over the past decade, in dozens of trials and appeals, the ICTY and ICTR have shown that it is possible and practical to apply international criminal and humanitarian law in actual cases — not just a few times, as at Nuremberg and Tokyo, but repeatedly, and in a manner even more rigorous than that employed at the post-World War II trials. The Tribunals have also helped to instill the idea that justice, not retribution or impunity, should be the response to horrific crimes.

Keywords: ad hoc tribunals; former Yugoslavia; Rwanda; international criminal law; international humanitarian law; justice

Chapter.  5152 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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