chapter  5
21 Pages

Unveiling (and veiling) politics in international criminal trials

WithTor Krever

Mainstream debates about international criminal trials appear hamstrung by the issue of politics. Politics enters in the misuse of the legal form for political ends to eliminate political opponents, as in claims of victor's justice or in the deformation of procedures and rules or absence altogether of legal process. A criminal trial, Kenneth Nunn suggests, 'does more than merely determine the fate of the defendant standing trial'. It also expresses 'fundamental notions about justice and injustice, right and wrong, law-abiding and crime, good and evil'. Jack Goldsmith and Stephen Krasner, while avoiding the hyperbole of their Law fare Project and Bush administration compatriots, express a similar fear about politically partisan prosecutions. Proponents of international criminal trials echo Judge Hoffman in the famous US Chicago Conspiracy trial in insisting on a clear line between criminal and political trials. The municipal legal academy, too, is characterized by an idealized notion of distinct and independent juridical and political spheres.