Apprehension of Indicted War Criminals: Lessons from the Former Yugoslavia
Roberta Arnold, ed., Law Enforcement within the Framework of Peace Support Operations (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008 ) 139-155
Posted: 8 Feb 2013
Date Written: 2008
The tasks entrusted to peace support operations (PSOs) have increased in complexity and risk since the end of the Cold War. One of the most important and challenging of these new duties is securing the arrest, detention and transfer of indicted war criminals during times of armed conflict and occupation. Establishing an effective legal framework to govern this activity presents distinct challenges, and important lessons may be learned from the diverse efforts made to bring indicted war criminals to justice in the wake of the armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
This chapter begins by identifying key aspects of this international law enforcement activity that makes it unique from the domestic context. The arrest, detention, surrender and transfer regime developed at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is then set out, and leading judicial decisions are considered. Finally, controversial means that have been used to apprehend indicted war criminals, including deceptive tactics and transnational abduction, will be critically examined. In the background of this discussion are two fundamental questions: (1) How far should peace support operations go to apprehend a person charged with war crimes? (2) How do we reconcile the international community’s interest in bringing indicted war criminals to justice with the rights of the accused and state sovereignty?
Keywords: War criminals, International law, Peace support operations
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