Peoples' Tribunals, International Law and the Use of Force
34 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 16, 2013
Decisions by a state to use force against another state are among the most important challenges to the international legal order. Few cases involving challenges to the lawfulness of the use of force have come before international judicial or quasi-judicial tribunals. At the same time many cases of the use of force have been taken up by international peoples' tribunals or citizens' tribunals, whose proponents often justify such exercises as responding to the institutional gap in state-sponsored institutions for formal adjudication of such issues. This article explores the work of international peoples' tribunals relating to situations involving the use of force. While locating that activity within a theoretical framework that posits that a primary function of such tribunals is to respond to gaps in the formal international system of adjudication of disputes, we argue that the peoples' tribunals perform a range of functions which go well beyond filling gaps. In addition to performing roles that go beyond those of formal adjudication, peoples' tribunals may also complement international state-sponsored tribunals, provide the impetus for the establishment of such tribunals or provide information to them, or offer a means of follow-up to the proceedings and pronouncements of official courts and tribunals.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation