The Challenges Facing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Theodor Meron

in The Making of International Criminal Justice

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608935
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729706 | DOI:
The Challenges Facing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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This chapter outlines seven institutional challenges the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has confronted and the solutions worked out so far. The first concerns the very method by which the Tribunal's procedures are established. A second major institutional challenge, or set of challenges, for the Tribunal has arisen from the length and complexity of its trials. A third important cluster of differences between ICTY cases and typical domestic criminal prosecutions arises from the difficulties of gathering evidence from distant countries that have only recently emerged from armed conflict — without the assistance of an effective police force, and frequently without the full cooperation of the governments in the region. A fourth institutional challenge faced by the ICTY has been the need to find a sensible combination of elements from different legal traditions. A fifth challenge facing the Tribunal is the task of construing the contours of a defendant's right to self-representation. A sixth live concern for our Tribunal is the problem of creating a coherent sentencing scheme, with sentences that reflect the gravity of the crimes committed without foreclosing the chance of rehabilitation. The last institutional challenge concerns the Tribunal's eventual demise.

Keywords: former Yugoslavia; international tribunals; institutional challenges; trials; criminal prosecution; self-representation; sentencing

Chapter.  5548 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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