Divided We Stand? The Ad Hoc Tribunals and the CEE Region
Let us present Veronika Bílková's contribution to the on-line journal AJIL Unbound - American Society of International Law Journal supplement. AJIL Unbound supplements AJIL’s print edition by publishing short, original essays and making them available on-line.
SYMPOSIUM ON THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND RWANDA: BROADENING THE DEBATE: Divided We Stand? The Ad Hoc Tribunals and the CEE Region
After WWII, countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) actively backed the establishment of the military tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo. In the early 1990s, when the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) were created by the UN Security Council, the CEE countries again lent uniform, albeit largely rhetorical support to these institutions. A quarter of a century later, this uniformity seems to be gone. While the CEE countries continue to express belief in international criminal justice, they no longer agree with each other on whether this justice has actually been served by the ad hoc tribunals. The diverging views on the achievements of the ICTY and ICTR might also partly account for the differences in the approach to the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC), though the grounds for these differences are more complex.
Early Life of the Two Ad Hoc Tribunals
This contribution is primarily centred on three countries of the CEE region—the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Russian Federation. In the 1940s and 1990s alike, these countries, despite the obvious differences in their size, power, and history, adopted a similar stance towards international criminal justice. In the 1940s, they all favoured the prosecution of Nazi (and, less urgently, Japanese) war criminals through newly established international military tribunals. As members of the victorious coalition who had suffered heavy casualties during WWII, they wished to see justice for those who had started the war done in a severe but civilized manner. In the 1990s, the three countries were again in the same camp. Inspired by the liberal ethos of the early postcommunist era, they were outraged by mass atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and also concerned about the impact these events could have in the CEE region. In this situation, the establishment of the two ad hoc tribunals was interpreted not only as a logical follow-up on the post-WWII tribunals but also as a step on the way towards justice and stability in the region. And as such, it was welcomed...