International Criminal Tribunals and Reconciliation. Reflections on the Role of Remorse and Apology

Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 14, Issue 5, pp. 1073-1097 (2016)

25 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2019

See all articles by Oliver Diggelmann

Oliver Diggelmann

University of Zurich - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Literature on transitional justice routinely assumes positive effects of international criminal proceedings on reconciliation processes. Expressions of remorse and apology before international criminal tribunals are attributed a key role in the scenario. This view is influenced by the role of remorse and apology in human dispute resolution in general and, particularly, in domestic criminal proceedings. That Western societies have become friendlier towards remorse and apology in the last decades -- in the age of the ‘new culture of apology’ -- might also play a certain role. This article argues, however, that there is a substantive gap between the assumed and the actual role of apology and remorse in international criminal proceedings. Analysis of the practice of international criminal tribunals reveals that cases of sincere remorse or apologies among high ranks -- that would be of particular value for reconciliation processes -- are hardly existent, and fakery of remorse is fostered by judicial practice. Additionally, positive effects of remorse and apology in the context of macro crimes tend to be overestimated. The article attributes the gap between the assumed and the actual role partly to the wish to avoid facing the void.

Suggested Citation

Diggelmann, Oliver, International Criminal Tribunals and Reconciliation. Reflections on the Role of Remorse and Apology (2016). Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 14, Issue 5, pp. 1073-1097 (2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3297441

Oliver Diggelmann (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Faculty of Law ( email )

74/36 Ramistrasse
Zurich, Zurich 8001
Switzerland

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
35
Abstract Views
282
PlumX Metrics