Journal Article

The Challenge of an International Criminal Trial as Seen from the Bench

O-Gon Kwon

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 5, issue 2, pages 360-376
Published in print May 2007 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
The Challenge of an International Criminal Trial as Seen from the Bench

Show Summary Details


The untimely death of Slobodan Milošević has brought into sharp focus the central challenge facing the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia: the length and complexity of trials, especially those involving high-level accused. The judges of the Tribunal have found themselves faced with the daunting task of how to change the existing procedures to be able to dispose of increasingly complex cases in a shorter period of time, while still respecting the right of the accused to a fair trial. The author focuses on three provisions of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence allowing ‘hybrid’ mechanisms between common-law and civil-law systems to speed up proceedings: (i) procedures for the admission of written statements and transcripts in lieu of oral testimony; (ii) judicial notice of facts adjudicated in previous cases before the Tribunal; and (iii) measures to reduce the size of cases, including allowing for the dropping of charges from an indictment to focus on more important or exemplary charges. All these mechanisms bear evidence of the ongoing process of ‘internationalization’ of criminal procedure. The author concludes that the task of speeding up trials requires a considerable amount of vision and mutual understanding on the part of the judges.

Journal Article.  8231 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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