Completion Strategies and the Office of the Prosecutor
Kevin Jon Heller
SOAS, University of London
June 26, 2009
INTERNATIONAL PROSECUTORS, Luc Reydams, et. al., eds., Oxford University Press, 2012
With the exception of the ICC, which is intended to be a permanent institution, all of the past or present international criminal tribunals have either completed their work or are scheduled to complete their work in the relatively near future. In some cases, such as the Nuremberg Military Tribunal, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) was intimately involved in planning the final phase of the tribunal’s existence. In others, such as the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in Timor-Leste, the OTP played little or no role in the decision-making process. In every case, though, the decision to close a tribunal has had a significant impact on the OTP’s ability to fulfill its mandate, however defined. This essay - my contribution to a book on the history of the prosecutor in international criminal law, which will be published by Oxford in 2010 - explores that impact. Section 1 describes the various strategies that the tribunals have pursued to complete their work. Section 2 provides a comprehensive analysis of the ways in which those strategies have threatened, and continue to threaten, the legitimacy, independence, and effectiveness of the OTP. Finally, Section 3 discusses the lessons that current and future tribunals can learn from those completion strategies - a kind of 'best practices' guide, albeit one that recognizes that it is impossible to construct a one-size-fits-all completion strategy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 30, 2009 ; Last revised: December 12, 2011
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