When are International Criminal Tribunals effective?

By Daniele Archibugi

, by OpenDemocracy

International courts and tribunals need to become real instruments of justice – and not simply tools for the strong – if the promise of Immanuel Kant’s universal community is to become a reality

A new institutional actor has started to be a recurrent character in world politics: the International Criminal Tribunal. Media, politicians and public opinion at large are increasingly discussing the cases brought to the attention of these new Tribunals. Public opinion is seldom aware of the judicial details, and this is hardly surprising since there has been a proliferation of tribunals, treaties and covenants, each of them with different tasks and objectives. In spite of the substantial differences between permanent Courts and ad hoc tribunals, there is a recurrent theme that allows us today to talk about an emerging global criminal justice: aseptic judicial institutions are at work in order to bring before justice those responsible for major crimes.

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