International Criminal Tribunals: a review of 2007.

Schabas, William A. (2008) International Criminal Tribunals: a review of 2007. Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights, 6 (3). pp. 382-414.

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In its modern incarnation, international criminal justice might be said to be now about fourteen years old. Following the bold experiments at Nuremberg and Tokyo after the Second World War, it went into a prolonged slumber, awakened in the early 1990s by the new political climate that emerged as the Cold War came to an end. In 1993, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”) was established by the United Nations Security Council. A year later, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (“ICTR” or “Rwanda Tribunal”) was created. In 2002, the United Nations established its third ad hoc tribunal, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (“SCSL”). The same year, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force. The International Criminal Court (“ICC”) was fully operational within a year. A fourth United Nations criminal court, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, was authorized by the Security Council in 2007, but no trials took place during the year. In parallel to the activities of these new international institutions, national and so-called ‘hybrid’ courts4 also made their own contributions to the growing corpus of international criminal case law. During 2007, the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda were in the advanced stages of their ‘completion strategy.’ Major cases were underway, with an ambitious target: to conclude trials at first instance by the end of 2008. Each tribunal had a big question mark about future priorities. The ICTY has yet to apprehend two of its most important suspects, Radovan Karadžiæ and Ratko Mladiæ. They were the object of special confirmation hearings when the Tribunal was at its very beginnings, in 1996, but have never been captured. The Rwanda Tribunal also awaited an important suspect, the alleged banker of the 1994 genocide, Félicien Kabuga, believed to be at large in Kenya. The Prosecutor provided no clarification about the possibility of prosecution of individuals associated with the Rwandese Patriotic Front, a matter that has been under consideration for many years. The Special Court for Sierra Leone completed its three multi-defendant trials, and prepared to begin what will be its final trial, of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. As for the International Criminal Court, it was readying for its very first trial, of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (“Lubanga”), who has been charged with war crimes related to the recruitment of child soldiers in eastern Congo. This article will provide an overview of some of the highlights of the case law of the tribunals during 2007. The volume of material is enormous, and any attempt to be comprehensive will stumble on superficiality. Necessarily, then, this review article focuses on only some of the major issues.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
ID Code:7698
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Deposited On:18 Apr 2011 06:06
Last Modified:25 Mar 2015 16:31

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