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
Date Written: December 1, 2011
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
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