Journal Article

Reflections on the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion in International Criminal Law

Luc Côté

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 3, issue 1, pages 162-186
Published in print March 2005 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/3.1.162
Reflections on the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion in International Criminal Law

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This paper sheds some light on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in international criminal law, particularly within the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. It argues that in international criminal law, the area where prosecutorial discretion becomes most politically sensitive concerns the power to select which individuals to prosecute, what rank of individual should be targeted for prosecution, and how many individuals to try before an international criminal tribunal. After briefly looking at the extent of the discretionary powers given to the international Prosecutor and, more importantly, at how they are exercised in practice, the author tries to identify the limits of these powers from three different angles: their legality in the light of the right to equality of treatment, the duty of impartiality of the Prosecutor and, finally, the legitimacy of the decisions to indict considering other efforts to negotiate peace. It concludes by identifying the new trends observed in international criminal law to limit prosecutorial discretion at the International Criminal Court, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and in the newly adopted completion strategy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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