Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Geert De Baere and Jan Wouters
Chapter 9: International criminal justice and the rule of law: The experience of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
The brevity of the phrase ‘the rule of law’ belies its extraordinary scope and significance – it is a term which sets out not only a fundamental tenet of the criminal justice process but also many of the core principles of a fair society. It is thus unsurprising that the rule of law is assuming ever greater significance for the international community. Looking back over the last decades, rule of law perspectives have become more and more closely integrated in the mainstream of UN business. Both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council regularly consider the rule of law as an agenda item, and these debates have gained greater prominence in recent years. Most notably, the UN General Assembly held its first ever high-level meeting on the rule of law in 2012. Likewise, the UN has created a specialized Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, supported by the Rule of Law Unit, to supplement and draw together the work of more than 30 UN and other agencies whose mandates include rule of law issues. And, of course, we have seen the rising tide of international criminal justice – not just the ad hoc tribunals of the 1990s but also the permanent International Criminal Courtand UN partnerships such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
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