Other International and Internationalized Courts
Ad hoc courts established to ensure justice in specific situations.
Independent of the International Criminal Court, other international and internationalized criminal courts have been established since 1993 to respond to genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes.
Ad hoc international criminal tribunals
In 1993, the United Nations Security Council decided to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in response to large scale crimes committed in the Balkans region.
A year later, in response to the genocide in Rwanda, the Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Both Tribunals are international:
- they are established independent of the national justice systems in the affected countries;
- they have international judges, lawyers and other staff;
- they are funded by the international community.
Despite prosecuting a significant number of important cases, both the ICTY and ICTR have experienced major problems in obtaining cooperation from states to arrest and surrender those charged with crimes to the Tribunals for trial. A decision by the Security Council to close both Tribunals by 2010 risks leaving a significant amount of their work incomplete.
Since the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the international community has not repeated the model of establishing ad hoc international criminal tribunals.
Instead, to respond to crimes in other situations, the international community has worked with the affected country to established “internationalized” courts that hybridize national and international systems. No standard model of internationalized courts has been established and each of those created have been unique.
Amnesty International is following the work of internationalized courts to ensure that they conduct their work in accordance with the highest standards of justice.
Although Amnesty International notes the value of organizing justice initiatives in the country where the crimes were committed and, in doing so, building the national justice system, the organization also notes that common problems are emerging:
- some elements of internationalized courts statutes and rules are flawed and not consistent with the highest standards of international justice
- internationalized courts have only prosecuted a very small number of cases in situations where mass crimes have been committed
- internationalized courts have experienced difficulties in securing cooperation from other states
- internationalized courts have experienced serious financial problems because they have been funded by voluntary contributions and states have failed to contribute
- internationalized courts have failed to act as a catalyst to ensure that the national courts investigate and prosecute other crimes under international law with which they are unable to deal