'One of the Challenges that Can Plausibly Be Raised Against Them?' On the Role of Truth in Debates About the Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals

Forthcoming, Nobuo Hayashi and Ceclia Bailliet (ed.), The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals, Cambridge University Press

iCourts Working Paper Series No. 36, 2015

28 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2015 Last revised: 17 May 2017

See all articles by Jakob v. H. Holtermann

Jakob v. H. Holtermann

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts

Date Written: November 19, 2015

Abstract

International criminal tribunals (ICTs) are epistemic engines in the sense that they find (or claim to find) factual truths about such past events that qualify as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The value of this kind of knowledge would seem to be beyond dispute. Yet, in general the truth-finding aspect of ICTs plays only a very limited role in the often heated debates about their legitimacy. Furthermore, those who actually do address the issue seem widely divided as to whether critiques of the epistemic function of ICTs in fact constitute, in Andreas Føllesdal’s words, one of ‘the challenges that can plausibly be raised against them’ – and if so, in what ways. In this paper, I address the first of these questions asking whether truth-finding should at all be considered a desideratum for ICTs. To this end, I discuss the widespread claim that it should not because the legal truth found in ICT judgements is in fact sui generis; i.e. something categorically different from ordinary truth because exclusively tied to and determined by the legal process as defined in accordance with ideals of due process/fair trial. I argue that this position is ill-founded. Properly under-stood, truth in law is intimately connected to ordinary truth. Truth-finding capacity therefore does belong in legitimacy debates as a challenge that can plausibly be raised against them. This, in turn makes it relevant, in future research, to map, analyse and interrelate the various critiques that have been launched against the actual truth conduciveness of ICTs.

Keywords: International criminal court; legitimacy; truth; legal truth

Suggested Citation

Holtermann, Jakob v. H., 'One of the Challenges that Can Plausibly Be Raised Against Them?' On the Role of Truth in Debates About the Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals (November 19, 2015). Forthcoming, Nobuo Hayashi and Ceclia Bailliet (ed.), The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals, Cambridge University Press; iCourts Working Paper Series No. 36, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2692994 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2692994

Jakob v. H. Holtermann (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://jura.ku.dk/icourts

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
70
rank
315,868
Abstract Views
603
PlumX Metrics