After WWII, the world realized the madness of mankind: although the Jewish genocide wasn't the first one in history, it was the first one which the international community became really aware of. In order to punish the terrible war crimes, 2 international military tribunals were created: one in Nuremberg and one in Tokyo. The idea of a necessary international criminal court was then developed: in 1948, the Convention for prevention and repression of genocide referred to the creation of an international court. However, this project was left aside; some believe that this was due to the context of the Cold War. It was only in 1993 that a new international court was created: the International Criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, created in order to prosecute serious crimes committed in former Yugoslavia since 1991.
[...] A relevant question is whether a “home grown” reconciliation (Luc Huyse) should be supported instead of an international justice. The example of the Gacaca (small society rooted tribunals elected by the local population in Rwanda) can show the importance of the establishment of local justice for a better reconciliation and a sense of concrete justice. International and national justice are both necessary and should be complementary instead of competing with each other. The dilemma faced by these courts Finally, the ICTs are facing an important dilemma. [...]
[...] The problem of legitimacy - First of all, these ICTs don't correspond to the habitual conception of law. Indeed, the scope of law is supposed to be general and law should anticipate crimes: international law therefore shouldn't be limited in time according to certain circumstances nor should it be decided by a political organ. These conditions are not respected in the cases of former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, indeed, the tribunals are ad hoc: their jurisdiction is therefore limited by the time and geographically (can only judge crimes committed on the concerned territories). [...]
[...] Indeed, by prosecuting the people responsible for these crimes at different levels, the tribunals put an end to the tradition of impunity that persisted in those weak countries, even people in power (like Milosevic for example) couldn't escape this justice. - The ICTY judges the following crimes (under the condition of them being committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia): serious infringements to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (intentional homicides, torture war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The ICTR judges genocide, crime against humanity and violation of the Geneva Convention - The ICTs correspond to a very important step towards international justice since they move the idea of crime against humanity, war crime ( ) from the realm of moral discussion to criminal law. [...]
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