The Politics of Establishing International Criminal Tribunals

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Working Paper No. 77

69 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012 Last revised: 28 Mar 2012

See all articles by Jan Wouters

Jan Wouters

KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

Luc Reydams

University of Notre Dame

Date Written: December 1, 2011

Abstract

The legislative histories of international criminal tribunals generally are well-known and well-documented. The traditional focus on the legal framework, however, overlooks the fact that international criminal tribunals are the result of political processes involving a multitude of domestic and international actors pursuing their own interests. Each court is created at a given time, in pursuit of specific objectives, based on certain assumptions, and reflecting a particular distribution of power. As he depends on external support and cooperation for the accomplishment of his mission, an international prosecutor can ill afford to ignore the positions of the various stakeholders and the distribution of power among them. We argue that the politics of establishing an international criminal tribunal contain crucial clues about its future operation. Specifically, we contend that the political history of a tribunal foreshadows issues such as the strength of an international prosecutor’s mandate, available resources, (de facto) independence, procedural framework, selection of defendants, and cooperation from states.

Keywords: International Criminal Law, International Criminal Jurisdictions

Suggested Citation

Wouters, Jan and Reydams, Luc, The Politics of Establishing International Criminal Tribunals (December 1, 2011). Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Working Paper No. 77. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2020329 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2020329

Jan Wouters (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies ( email )

House De Dorlodot - Deberiotstraat 34
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.globalgovernancestudies.eu

Luc Reydams

University of Notre Dame ( email )

217 OSHAG
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

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