International Criminal Tribunals: a review of 2007.

Schabas, William A. ORCID: (2008) International Criminal Tribunals: a review of 2007. Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights, 6 (3) . pp. 382-414. [Article] (doi:1549-828X)


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
Item ID: 7698
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2011 06:06
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 12:20

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