Journal Article


James Cockayne

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 5, issue 5, pages 1061-1064
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:

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In this Foreword to a Symposium on the newly established Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the editor of the Symposium highlights innovations the STL offers, and challenges it may face to become a viable institution. He queries whether the STL was intended to be a cripple from birth. Acknowledging that the ICTY earlier proved expectations of its impotence wrong, the author nonetheless argues that the STL not only lacks some of the tools the ICTY enjoyed, but also faces two additional constraining social conditions: more highly attuned and wary potential defendants; and the very doctrine that the ICTY and its peer tribunals have elaborated. The author argues that there is a danger that, in their zeal to bring the perpetrators of the Hariri assassination to justice, the STL and its backers in the Security Council may damage that very doctrine, and damage the credibility of the enterprise of international criminal justice. On the other hand, a cautious, professional STL could contribute significantly to that enterprise, by demonstrating the feasibility of a more streamlined criminal procedure, by extending the technologies of international criminal justice to crimes of terrorism, and by taking a small step towards ending the culture of impunity and violent dispute resolution that prevails in Lebanon.

Journal Article.  1448 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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