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Research Handbook on the International Penal System

Research Handbook on the International Penal System

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Róisín Mulgrew and Denis Abels

Drawing on the expertise and experience of contributors from a wide range of academic, professional and judicial backgrounds, this handbook critically analyses the laws, policies and practices that govern detention, punishment and the enforcement of sentences in the international criminal justice context. Comprehensive and innovative, it also explores broader normative questions related to international punishment and makes recommendations for the international penal system’s development.

Chapter 10: State cooperation in the enforcement of sentences

Göran Sluiter

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, human rights, public international law


It is a truism that international criminal tribunals cannot function without cooperation from States. This cooperation has many different dimensions and is subject to legal regimes that may vary per tribunal, per State and per form of cooperation. State cooperation is also required to execute sentences that are imposed by international criminal tribunals. It is a dimension of cooperation and the functioning of international criminal tribunals that does not receive a great deal of attention. This is understandable in the sense that holding international criminal trials does not appear directly dependent upon the regulation of enforcement of sentences; the trial can start and go on, even if there could be uncertainties in respect of the enforcement of sentences. That said, enforcement of sentences is a vital component of any criminal justice system; the authority and credibility of the international criminal justice system are ultimately also dependent on the adequate and fair organization of State cooperation in the enforcement of sentences. The present chapter addresses the question whether cooperation of States in the enforcement of sentences is fair and adequate in the law and practice of international criminal tribunals. A comprehensive answer to this question is not possible in a book chapter. I will therefore have to be selective and concentrate on a number of essential elements of the aforementioned question.

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