Experiences that Count: A Comparative Study of the ICTY and SCSL in Shaping the Image of Justice

18 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2013

See all articles by Kristin Xueqin Wu

Kristin Xueqin Wu

Utrecht University - School of Law

Date Written: January 31, 2013


The legitimacy of international criminal trials is not automatic: it is conditional upon endorsement by local communities. If the very communities involved do not 'feel' a sense of justice, these trials would not only contribute little to the post-conflict peace process, but also create a backlash against these international courts and tribunals, tarnishing the image of international criminal justice. Despite its critical importance, this image management process is still at the stage of trial and error. The first outreach programme, established by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has been fighting a losing battle against the Tribunal's poor image in the former Yugoslavia region. In contrast, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) has been highly praised for promoting a holistic experience of 'just'. What causes these differences, and what could be learnt from them? After comparing the various undertakings by these two ad-hoc tribunals - in terms of outreach strategies, press strategies and resource management - this paper draws three lessons for the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC): gaining acceptance, smoothing communication and boosting judicial efficiency.

Keywords: image, international criminal justice, experience, outreach, media, resources, ICTY, SCSL

Suggested Citation

Wu, Kristin Xueqin, Experiences that Count: A Comparative Study of the ICTY and SCSL in Shaping the Image of Justice (January 31, 2013). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 60-77, January 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2212117

Kristin Xueqin Wu (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - School of Law ( email )

3508 TC Utrecht

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