The UN Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the International Criminal Court
The Cold War brought the Nuremberg prosecutions to a premature end. It also no longer seemed possible to create an international penal court to adjudge those individuals, including heads of state, who would commit crimes in violation of the Nuremberg principles. The end of the Cold War unexpectedly led to the resurrection of the Nuremberg paradigm. In 1993, the UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to prosecute those accused of committing mass atrocities in the aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia. In 1994, the Security Council did the same with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), to adjudge individuals arrested for committing mass atrocities during the one hundred-day genocide in Rwanda. The UN tribunals were granted jurisdiction over three crimes: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Both tribunals followed the Nuremberg model. As Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor for the tribunals, stated: “Collectively, we’re linked to Nuremberg. We mention its name every single day.” This chapter examines the work of the ICTY and the ICTR over the last two decades. It compares the work and effectiveness of these modern international criminal tribunals to Nuremberg. It also analyzes the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 1998 as the first permanent international criminal tribunal in history.
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