chapter  9
11 Pages

The preventive role of the international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court

In this chapter we look at the potential preventive roles of the international criminal tribunals established by the UN Security Council and by states with the support of the UN. At the end of the day the purpose of a criminal justice system is to deter the commission of crimes and to punish those found guilty of criminal offences. National criminal justice systems do not always deter and not all criminals are brought to justice. But if criminal justice systems did not exist the number of crimes committed would certainly be much higher. At the end of the day that is the preventive rationale of the national criminal justice systems. This is the same rationale that has inspired those who have fought

for and succeeded in getting established a series of international criminal tribunals and the ICC. The results rendered by these tribunals have been the subject of discussion and some have compared the expenses incurred in their operation with the lack of resources for development purposes in the countries they were established to serve. These are understandable concerns, but it would be hard to fault the efforts of those who have sought to bring alleged perpetrators of international crimes to justice. It will be recalled that during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, which

led to terrible violations of human rights, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established to try persons accused of international crimes in that region. This was followed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), established in the wake of the Rwandan genocide. Then a court was established to try those accused of international crimes in the conflict in Sierra Leone, followed by a special court in Cambodia to try persons accused of perpetrating genocide and other international crimes during the regime of Pol Pot. More recently a special tribunal has been established to try persons accused of the assassination of former Lebanese President Rafik Hariri.