Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Bartram S. Brown
Chapter 18: Reflections on contemporary developments in international criminal justice
M. Cherif Bassiouni International criminal justice is an idea whose time has come. Its constituencies within governments, intergovernmental organizations and international civil society have grown significantly in the last two decades. The establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the mixed-model tribunals have contributed to that development by showing, inter alia, that fairness in process and justice-outcomes can be achieved.1 More importantly, these institutions have shown, even with a limited number of cases, that accountability is on the rise and that impunity is no longer the norm.2 Admittedly, severe constraints remain, but in view of the perennial resistance of realpolitik to the progress of international criminal justice, the results can be said to exceed expectations.3 The new era of international criminal justice started in 1992, when the United Nations Security Council re-engaged in international criminal law for the first time since the postSecond World War era by establishing the Commission of Experts to investigate violations of international humanitarian law in the then-ongoing conflict in the Former Yugoslavia.4 That effort culminated in significant fashion with the establishment in 1998 of the ICC,5 but 1 For various articles on these institutions, see 3 INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW (M. Cherif Bassiouni ed., 3rd edn, 2008). 2 See however, M. CHERIF BASSIOUNI, THE PURSUIT OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE: A WORLD STUDY ON CONFLICTS, VICTIMIZATION AND POST-CONFLICT JUSTICE (2 vols., Intersentia: Brussels, Belgium, 2010) – (1961 pages), which shows...
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