Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


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The Origins of Transitional Justice

By Marcos Zunino

Wherever there are allegations of serious human rights violations or international crimes, from Syria, to Venezuela, to Myanmar, calls for transitional justice follow. They involve implementing a policy for dealing with these violations that may include criminal trials, truth-finding initiatives, reparations programmes, vetting of personnel, and state reform efforts. These mechanisms are meant to pursue the transitional justice elements of justice, truth, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence while paying special attention to the needs and views of victims. Transitional justice has thus emerged as the primary framework for responding to widespread violence. Indeed, ours has even been called the ‘era of transitional justice’. When did this idea of a need to respond to mass violence with this particular toolbox and goals appear? Continue reading


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Learning to Protect the Interests of Peace

By Amin Sadri |amin.sadri@emory.edu 

In September 2007, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) for the International Criminal Court (ICC) set out its understanding of the concept of the interests of justice. The OTP made three points clear: there is a presumption to investigate and exercising the discretion not to do so is exceptional in nature, that the criteria are guided by the objects and purposes of the statute, and that the OTP is predominantly focused on the interests of justice and that the interests of peace “falls within the mandate of institutions other than the [OTP].” However, as the very first paragraph of their 2007 policy paper makes clear, “This is a policy document of the Office of the Prosecutor […] and is subject to revision based on experience and in the light of legal determinations by the Chambers of the Court.” Continue reading


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The (expected) guilty verdict against Ratko Mladić

By Prof. Dr. Caroline Fournet |c.i.fournet@rug.nl

On 22 November 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) issued one of its most awaited judgments: that against Ratko Mladić, former Serbian army general and acolyte of the equally lamentably famous Radovan Karadžić, former Bosnian Serb leader, who also achieved infamy for the atrocities he perpetrated and was condemned by the ICTY on 24 March 2016.

The point of this short blog text is not to summarise a judgment that totals 2475 pages, excluding Judge Orie’s Dissenting Opinion and appendices. Rather, it is to comment on one particular issue that, although not overlooked as such, seems to be accepted as an expected outcome and ultimately as a side point in a verdict that, after all, may be seen as satisfactory insofar as it condemned the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’.

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