Tribunal-Hopping with the Post-Conflict Justice Junkies

Oregon Review of International Law, Symposium Issue, Vol. 10, p. 361, 2008

30 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2009

See all articles by Elena A. Baylis

Elena A. Baylis

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: April 8, 2009


The field of post-conflict justice is characterized in no small part by international interventions into post-conflict settings. International interveners invest substantial resources toward the goals of post-conflict justice, including creating legal accountability for atrocities and rebuilding local and national justice systems that respect human rights and rule of law. The aims of post-conflict justice and the mechanisms by which the international community can contribute to post-conflict legal institutions and processes have been and continue to be studied intensively.

But while the institutions, processes, and goals of post-conflict justice have been carefully scrutinized, another aspect of international interventions into post-conflict justice has been evaluated less thoroughly: the people who carry out the interventions. Who are the international lawyers, human rights officers, and others who do this crucial work on behalf of interveners, and what is their role in shaping post-conflict accountability and legal reform?

Looking behind processes and institutions to the people involved is particularly critical in the post-conflict justice context, because there exists a tight-knit network of repeat players (the "post-conflict justice junkies") who move quickly and repeatedly from one international criminal tribunal or other post-conflict justice institution to the next ("tribunal-hopping"). In this symposium article, I explore the implications of the existence of this network and its practice of tribunal-hopping for the effectiveness of international involvement in post-conflict justice. This article sets out my initial observations and analysis in preparation for an empirical study.

Keywords: post-conflict justice, transitional justice, rule of law, international criminal court, special court for sierra leone, international criminal tribunal, kosovo, cambodia, east timor, rwanda, democratic republic of congo, crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, united nations, NGO

JEL Classification: K14, K33, L30, N40

Suggested Citation

Baylis, Elena A., Tribunal-Hopping with the Post-Conflict Justice Junkies (April 8, 2009). Oregon Review of International Law, Symposium Issue, Vol. 10, p. 361, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Elena A. Baylis (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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