Journal Article

<i>Stare decisis</i> in the ICTY Appeal System?

Alphons M.M. Orie

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 10, issue 3, pages 635-644
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
Stare decisis in the ICTY Appeal System?

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  • Criminal Law
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Although international criminal law is becoming increasingly harmonized, it is inevitable that differently composed panels at the Appeals Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) (and other international courts) will disagree with each other. The author examines the institutional and jurisprudential reasons for an appeals chamber to respect or revisit the prior decisions of previous appeals chambers which might be composed of an overlapping set of judges. Although the common law doctrine of stare decisis does not apply in a formal manner at the ICTY, Appeals Chambers are still reluctant to overturn prior doctrinal pronouncements due to concerns of stability in the law — precisely the rationale for stare decisis. This creates the wholly unsatisfactory possibility that three judges on the Appeals Chamber could decide the law even though a majority of the Appeals Chamber judges at the Tribunal might disagree with their interpretation of the law. The author discusses this paradoxical situation by examining, as a case study, the ICTY judgments on successor responsibility in command responsibility cases.

Journal Article.  4493 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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