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Enforcing justice : the influence of norms on the efficacy of international criminal tribunals Stankovic, Azurondel

Abstract

The increase in the creation of International Criminal Tribunals (ICTs) in recent years has spawned a growing literature regarding the use of such tribunals in situations of violent conflict. This literature is divided between proponents of the use of ICTs as a means to secure the resolution of conflict through the upholding norms of justice and holding the actors in a conflict accused of committing war crimes accountable for these actions, and sceptics who question the use of tribunals in the wake of the realities of violent conflict. However, despite the divide between the two sides, both adopt an argument that regards norms and interest as mutually exclusive independent variables. I argue that the tendency to separate norms and interest does not provide a full analysis of the functioning of ICTs, and adopting a constructivist approach in which norms and interest are seen as complementary will provide a more complete understanding of the limited success achieved by such tribunals. Such a constructivist approach is applied to the case studies of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), demonstrating how the larger normative context influences state action regarding implementing and enforcing ICTs, thus influencing a tribunal's ability to achieve success. These case studies reveal the contextual nature of the concept of state interest and the influence of norms that comprise this context.

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