Academic journal article International Journal on World Peace

International Trials and Reconciliation: Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Academic journal article International Journal on World Peace

International Trials and Reconciliation: Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Article excerpt

INTERNATIONAL TRIALS AND RECONCILIATION: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Janine Natalya Clark New York and Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2014 249 pages, hardcover $145, paper $49.95

The author, who is based in the University of Sheffield's political science department, addresses the question of whether the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), located in The Hague, has contributed to interethnic reconciliation in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. She notes that in some of their public statements, high ranking Tribunal members claimed that the ICTY would or already had made such contributions. The author utilized a "bottom up" approach to assess ordinary people's views and attitudes towards the Tribunal. Clark writes that she conducted 350 semi-structured interviews over a five-year period and utilized a measurement model consisting of three prongs: justice, truth and interethnic relations.

Her findings among the various ethnic populations were rather consistent. Croats, Serbs, Bosnians, and Kosovo Albanians generally had limited knowledge of the Tribunal's mandate, cases, and judicial record. The mandate of the ICTY is to prosecute those most responsible for humanitarian law violations, with the expectation that lesser criminals would be dealt with in domestic courts. At the time of her research, the ICTY had indicted over 160 individuals. However, many persons Clark interviewed complained that the Tribunal had prosecuted too few members of ethnic groups other than their own. They also complained that the ICTY was politically biased against them and that the sentences for those members of opposing ethnicities found guilty were too lenient. Consequently, they did not believe the Tribunal achieved justice.

Respondents' confidence in the ICTY was further tarnished in 2013 when Frederik Harhoff, a Danish judge on the Tribunal, accused the Tribunal's President, Judge Theodor Meron, of inappropriately exerting pressure on other judges to acquit on appeal high-ranking Croatian and Serbian military officers who previously had been found guilty of war crimes. …

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