Early Release in International Criminal Law

By Choi, Jonathan H. | The Yale Law Journal, April 2014 | Go to article overview

Early Release in International Criminal Law


Choi, Jonathan H., The Yale Law Journal


NOTE CONTENTS  INTRODUCTION I.   CURRENT DOCTRINE      A. Sentencing at the ICTs      B. The Statutes and the Four Factors      C. Confusion over Parole and Clemency      D. Looking Forward: The International Criminal Court and Other         Tribunals II.  A theory of early release in international law      A. The Goals of International Criminal Law      B. Relevant Factors         1. Cooperation After Sentencing         2. Humanitarian Concerns      C. Irrelevant Factors         1. Rehabilitation: Remorse, Recidivism, Good Behavior, and              Reintegration         2. Social Instability         3. Gravity of Crimes      D. Summary III. OBJECTIONS      A. Expressive Law      B. Incomplete Information IV.  IMPLICATIONS  CONCLUSION 

INTRODUCTION

On October 27, 2009, Biljana Plavsic finally returned home to Belgrade. (1) It was a sunny autumn afternoon, and the locals treated her to a triumphal reception as she traveled from the airport to her apartment. Plavsic wore a bright smile and a fur coat; she received hugs and kisses from passers-by along the way, escorted by the Bosnian Serb Prime Minister himself. (2) She had spent the last six years in a Swedish prison. (3)

In 2000, Plavsic was indicted by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for genocide, crimes against humanity, violations of the laws and customs of war, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. (4) The Prosecutor alleged that Plavsic had masterminded a policy of racial extermination and persecution as a member of the three-person Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (5) She had enthusiastically endorsed ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Croats, and achieved global notoriety after a 1992 photograph showed her greeting fellow war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic with a kiss over the dead body of a Muslim civilian. (6)

Plavsic garnered further fame by surrendering to the Tribunal shortly after her indictment (7) and pleading guilty in 2002. Plavsic vowed: 'The knowledge that I am responsible for such human suffering and for soiling the character of my people will always be with me." (8) In exchange, the Prosecutor agreed to drop all charges except persecution (9) (a crime against humanity (10)), and Plavsic received a sentence of eleven years. (11)

However, in a January 2009 interview with Sweden's Vi Magazine, Plavsic withdrew her confession and her apology. She described them as pieces of political opportunism intended solely to reduce her sentence, claiming, I sacrificed myself. I have done nothing wrong. I pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity so I could bargain for the other charges." (12)

Plavsic gave the interview in an apparent fit of pique after the Swedish authorities rejected her initial application for a pardon in December 2008. (13) In the same interview, she took potshots at the Swedish Ministry of Justice, complaining that "[n]one of the other prisoners have read a single book," and that "[y]our country has nothing to be proud of." (14) Plavsic had seemingly resigned herself to her scheduled release date in 2012--commentators noted that her evident lack of rehabilitation had hurt her chances for early release, perhaps fatally. (15)

But the President of the ICTY disagreed. In the decision approving Plavsic's early release, President Patrick Robinson contended that she had exhibited "substantial evidence of rehabilitation" (16) based in part on her "good behavior during the course of her incarceration." (17) He also noted her cooperation with the Prosecutor (18) and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that she had already served two thirds of her sentence, the customary proportion entitling her to early release. (19)

Although Plavsic was only one of many criminals to be released early by the ICTY, victims groups and prominent politicians were particularly vehement about her case. Representatives of an association of Muslim and Croat camp victims complained that the decision had "nothing to do with justice"--that the ICTY had failed to think about the blood of so many of our children, whom we are still digging out of mass graves. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Early Release in International Criminal Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.