International Trials and Reconciliation Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Transitional justice is a burgeoning field of scholarly inquiry. Yet while the transitional justice literature is replete with claims about the benefits of criminal trials, too often these claims lack an empirical basis and hence remain unproven. While there has been much discussion about whether criminal trials can aid reconciliation, the extent to which they actually do so in practice remains under-explored. This book investigates the relationship between criminal trials and reconciliation, through a particular focus on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Using detailed empirical data – in the form of qualitative interviews and observations from five years of fieldwork – to assess and analyze the ICTY’s impact on reconciliation in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, International Trials and Reconciliation: Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia argues that reconciliation is not a realistic aim for a criminal court. They are, Janine Clark argues, only one part of a rich tapestry of justice, which must also include non-retributive transitional justice processes and mechanisms.
Challenging many of the common yet untested assumptions about the benefits of criminal trials, this innovative and extremely timely monograph will be invaluable for those with interests in the theory and practice of transitional justice.
List of figures, Acknowledgements, Abbreviations, Introduction, 1. The Violent Death of Yugoslavia and the Rebirth of International Criminal Justice, 2. Reconciliation, the ICTY and the Issue of Impact: Critical Challenges and Foundations, 3. Part One of a Tripartite Case Study of Bosnia-Hercegovina: Justice, 4. Bosnia-Hercegovina Part Two: Truth, 5. Bosnia-Hercegovina Part Three: Inter-Ethnic Relations, 6. A Case Study of Croatia, 7. A Case Study of Kosovo, 8. Beyond the ICTY, Beyond Courts, Beyond Transitional Justice, Conclusion, Bibliography, Index
‘Janine Natalya Clark dispels the myth that international criminal courts can serve as a beacon for reconciliation in countries ripped apart by ethnic cleansing and genocide. Clark’s findings remind us that the pursuit of justice, as important as it may be, should never be viewed as some kind of panacea for righting past wrongs or as a magic bullet for healing victims and war-torn societies. To do so, Clark rightly argues, belittles the suffering of victims and distorts the enormity of the task of rebuilding shattering communities. This is an important book which diplomats, court staff and justice activists should take seriously’.
Eric Stover is Faculty Director, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley School of Law and author of The Witnesses: War Crimes and the Pursuit of Justice in The Hague
‘This book, based on extensive research, is an important reminder to all involved in international and criminal courts, that justice done with fear or with favour, or to further some political compromise, will never conduce to peace because victims see through it. Courts must do the justice job for which they are qualified, namely to convict mass murderers as quickly and fairly as possible and punish them as retribution for their atrocities as a deterrent to future perpetrators. Judges should forget about writing history - they are not qualified - or producing reconciliation, which criminal justice cannot do, other than as a precondition. The evidence shows the importance of more honest outreach programmes: people must understand not only the work of global justice, but also its human limits.’
Geoffrey Robertson QC, author of Crimes Against Humanity