International Trials and Reconciliation: Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

International Trials and Reconciliation

Assessing the Impact of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, 1st Edition

By Janine Natalya Clark


250 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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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.


‘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

Table of Contents

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

About the Author

Janine Natalya Clark is based in the Politics Department, University of Sheffield

About the Series

Transitional Justice

The study of transitional justice has emerged as one of the most diverse and intellectual exciting developments in the social sciences in the last two decades. From its origins in human rights activism and comparative political science the field is increasingly characterised by its geographic and disciplinary breadth. Routledge’s Transitional Justice series publishes innovative work across a range of disciplines working on transitional justice related topics: including law, sociology, criminology, psychology, anthropology, political science, development studies and international relations.

The series includes titles which address larger theoretical questions on transitional justice, including the intersection of notions such as justice, truth, accountability, impunity and the construction of transitional justice knowledge. It also contains critical and theoretically informed empirical work on the workings of institutions such as truth commissions, community based reconciliation, victim empowerment, ex-combatant demobilisation, or regional discussions on practical programmes in particular areas. Finally, the series covers the legal aspects of transitional justice; although, avoiding dry, overly technical or dull legal texts, it specialises in a style of legal scholarship that reflects the energy and vitality of this exciting field.

For further details on the series please contact the Series Editor.

Kieran McEvoy

Professor of Law and Transitional Justice

School of Law

Queens University Belfast


44 (0) 2890973873

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General