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Updated by Heidi Burgess in JuneOriginally written and posted in July What International War Crimes Tribunals Are International war crimes tribunals are courts of law established to try individuals accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Despite the often heinous nature of the Usip essay 2013 that individuals commit during intractable conflicts, including genocide, torture, and rape, it has become common practice to offer the accused an opportunity to explain his or her actions in front of the victims and their families, as well as the media.
Tribunals have almost entirely replaced retributive justice's summary executions. Based on generally agreed-upon international standards of acceptable human behavior, they have introduced a new ethos of liberal legalism for dealing with war crimes.
War crimes tribunals do not offer the accused a chance for forgiveness as truth and reconciliation commissions do. Tribunals do, however, offer victims and their families the opportunity to confront those responsible for what happened to them, and hopefully to put the horrors of war behind them. A tribunal can be a forum for honoring the memory of those lost, as well as punishing those responsible.
The war crimes tribunals of Nuremberg and Tokyo, in which legal justice was used to punish the upper echelons of the German and Japanese military following World War II, continue to be regarded as the most successful tribunals to date.
The democratic, progressive success of both nations following these tribunals is often given as evidence of the effectiveness of war crimes tribunals in helping a society that has perpetrated war crimes to return to stable diplomatic relations and the road to peace.
One of the arguments in support of war crimes tribunals is that they act as a deterrent to potential war criminals.
The ICC has been so slow at prosecuting people, however, that its deterrence ability is unclear. War crimes tribunals offer a rare chance for the world's leaders and citizens to scrutinize both the deplorable decisions made by particular leaders, and the atrocities committed by the soldiers and agents of those leaders.
Without such a forum, there would be no method for assuring that the masterminds and perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes are justly punished.
Tribunals also give victims and their families an opportunity to regain a sense of power that may have been lost resulting from a war crime. It is empowering for victims to stand up in a court of law and identify those who wronged them.
A war crimes tribunal can also force forgotten or hidden atrocities to be retold by survivors.
In this way war criminals living free of judgment are finally forced to accept responsibility for their actions and be judged for what they have done. For a country attempting to make a transition from a repressive regime to a democracywar crimes tribunals offer citizens and leaders the opportunity to put their faith in an equitable rule of law.
Countries that truly wish to become modern democracies must accept the rule of democratic law and apply it to even their most powerful criminals. While this process takes an enormous effort of national will, nations that successfully conduct tribunals within the bounds of such laws prove they can function without reverting to the undesirable methods of repression and violence.
Thus war crimes tribunals have the potential to help emerging democracies discover the benefits of a strong legal system while reconciling past atrocities. A successful war crimes tribunal allows the past to be laid to rest and a peaceful future forged from its results.The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is an American federal institution tasked with promoting conflict resolution and prevention worldwide.
It provides research, analysis, and training to individuals in diplomacy, mediation, and other peace-building measures. national peace essay contest – deadline: february 1, united states institute of peace national peace essay contest [email protected] constitution ave., nw washington, dc + please remove and post!
united states institute of peace national peace essay contest – national peace essay contest fact sheet Transitioning to peace and democratic governance raises challenging questions about how to handle security forces.
Massively Parallel Peacebuilding. The second part of the Conflict Frontiers Seminar series explains a new, complexity-oriented strategy for limiting destructive conflict and addressing complex challenges such as those posed by the rise of Authoritarian Populism.
In , she joined the US Institute of Peace (USIP) as a Senior Rule of Law Advisor, where she worked until Vivienne has been engaged in rule of law projects in numerous countries including Afghanistan, Burma, Haiti, Liberia, Nepal and Syria.
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