Chair: Barbora Hola

International criminal courts and tribunals: role, functioning and (potential) contributions - Sponsored by the European Criminology Group on Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice (ECACTJ)

Building: E
Room: 02


Author: Rauschenbach Mina, University of Lausanne and KU Leuven

Title: Individuals Accused of International Crimes as Delegitimized Agents of Truth
The workings of international criminal trials situate themselves in an era where the concept of truth is heralded as a key aspect in the production of understandings of the past within transitional justice (TJ) settings. This paper explores the discourses of 18 individuals accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It addresses their role as generally delegitimized agents of truth and analyzes how they reconstruct their justice experience, focusing particularly on how they make sense of the judicial truths stemming from their case. It reveals how they reconstruct the ICTY as a hegemonic arena which produces narratives, which cannot be considered as legitimate and complete accounts of the past and which are at odds with their authoritative perspective of the “truth.” These findings are analyzed against the backdrop of increasing scholarly debates about the legitimacy, which can be attributed to perpetrators’ perspectives given the tendency, within TJ discourses and practices, to position international criminal justice as a universal and authoritative arbitrator of morality in conflict. I conclude by reflecting on the implications of researching the accused in light of the political embedding of international trials, as well as the complex nature of perpetratorship in mass atrocities.
Keywords: International crimes; transitional justice; ICTY; truth; perpetrators; ECACTJ
Author: Fournet Caroline, University of Groningen

Title: Internationalizing the Household? Reflections on Domestic (Sexual) Violence as an International Crime
If one of the main achievements of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was the explicit recognition of an extended number of crimes of sexual violence as international crimes, this is not to say that all sexual violence automatically falls under the scope of application of international criminal law : only those acts of sexual violence which fulfil the definitional criteria of international crimes (notably in terms of massiveness or systematicity) may qualify as such. Deprived of such characteristics, sexual violence perpetrated within the private sphere, including within the family, is therefore not covered by the international norm. Couldn’t we however imagine the hypothesis of domestic violence – sexual or not – perpetrated in a generalized, planned, and even state-sponsored, manner which would thus be punishable as an international crime? This question might not be as theoretical as it first might seem and, to demonstrate this, this paper will focus on two categories of acts – forced marriages on one hand and post-conflict domestic sexual violence perpetrated against victims of acts of sexual violence that qualify as international crimes on the other.
Keywords: international crimes; sexual violence; domestic violence; ICC; ECACTJ
Author: Weerdesteijn Maartje, VU University

Title: The Icc and R2P From a Global Governance Perspective
In 2005 the international community accepted the responsibility to protect (R2P) populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is often referred to as a “tool in the toolbox” of the responsibility to protect. It is not clear, however, how the ICC functions as a tool for the implementation of R2P. While some scholars argue that the relationship between the two is strained, others note that they complement each other and each fills a gap that is necessary for the international community to safeguard populations from atrocity crimes. It will be argued here that the relationship between the two mechanisms can be usefully analysed from a global governance perspective in order to set out how formal and informal norms and institutions interact when mass atrocities are addressed. The aim is to assess the extent to which each can be considered part of a global governance regime that facilitates the protection of populations from atrocity crimes.
Keywords: ICC; R2P; international crimes; mass atrocities; ECACTJ
Author: Smeulers Alette, University of Groningen

Title: The Role of the Icc in the Fight Against Impunity
So far the ICC has a meagre track record: it took over 10 years to come to the first conviction (in the Lubanga case); only a handful of cases have been completed so far; some cases have failed miserably and several African countries have threatened to withdraw their ratifications because of an alleged bias of the ICC towards Africa. It seems that the ICC does not fulfil its promise. But is this indeed the case? In this paper it will be argued that the ICC should indeed do a lot better but that not all allegations are fair. Research has shown that the ICC’s selection of situations shows that given the ICC’s limited jurisdictional reach, the Prosecutor is generally focusing on the gravest situations where international crimes are supposedly committed. It is the UN Security Council who fails to refer some of the most serious situations to the ICC. Although the accomplishments of the ICC itself have been (too) limited, this paper will however furthermore argue that the establishment of the international criminal tribunals and then subsequently the ICC nevertheless lead to some positive developments.
Keywords: International crimes; ICC; impunity; selection strategy; ECACTJ
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