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A Critique of International courts By Helana Cobban

The Dushkin Publisher Company, Inc. Guilford, Connecticut 2009, 4 pages.

Critiqued by Imi Louda B. Espina Political Science 306

Mr. Joseph Ian B. Sabado Father Saturnino Urios University July 7, 2011


The international courts are formed as treaties to nations under an international organization such as the United Nations, but do not involve the ones under a particular national authority. However their jurisdiction may vary and may focus only to restricted cases. Take International Criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for example. Established by the United Nations security council in May 1993, it was in response to the atrocities in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the atrocities committed in accordance with the so called ethnic cleansing against Bosnian Muslims; by that meaning the rape, torture, enslave and genocide. Its main objective was to try the ones most responsible for the war crimes in Balkans after 1991 in the hopes that it may deter future crimes and bring about justice to the victims. International War Crimes Tribunals are courts of law established to try individuals accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity (McMorran, 2008). They offer the victims closure and justice, and the accused their just punishments. In the current world there are various courts and tribunals. This articles aims to elaborate on the lack of efficiency the ICTY and ICR.


Presentation of the article by Helena Cobban on International Courts is consistent in her views on the roles of international courts in the world. She specified that lack-ness of the completion of promises the courts have made to the war victims. The author was straight forward as she mentioned the almost uselessness of the international courts. Her way of captivating readers was to the manner of questioning the effectivity of the tribunals. It was a simple enough to understand and consistent to hold her convictions. She identified the problem and cited issues that developed intrigue that will later on the readers will be curiously reading. Her approach to the whole article was providing the readers the chance to imagine the scenario from the current tribunal cases and then simply state facts and elaborate them. The author was consistent on her views and maintained good peripherals.

Evidence of Thesis Support

Cobbans initial statements on International Courts were firm on the concept that international courts have squandered billions of dollars, failed to advance human rights and ignored the wishes of the victims they claim to represent. The notion that an international court, established by the United Nation, raised false hope to oppressed victims of Former Yugoslavia seems harsh and but his would actually seemed plausible as she was supported by Andrew Purvis saying: despite the efforts of prosecutors to draw attention to the massacres at Racak and other killing grounds, Milosevic often successfully kept the focus on technicalities. A few months ago, when a prosecution witness described in detail the discovery of several murdered women at the bottom of a well with injuries to their pelvic areas suggesting rape, Milosevic blithely argued that the victims must have fallen and injured themselves war crimes in Kosovo. This added more salt to injury as the trial is yet to be finalized. The ICTY is moving in a slow pace as they tried Milosevic. The ICTR was pacing slowly as to convicting the perpetrators of the crimes. Wadhams speaks strongly about this. The perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu

extremists slaughtered some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate

Hutus in 100 days, are guilty of one of the greatest crimes in the history of humanity. But as the international tribunal where Nizeyimana will be tried prepares to wrap up by the end of 2013, celebrations over his arrest will not ease a long-held sense of discontent about the genocide's aftermath and whether justice has really been served. For all the big fish it may have landed, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has yet to consider the case of a single person accused of committing atrocities on behalf of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the guerrilla movement led by now President Paul Kagame

(Wadhams, 2009). The victims are not always so keen on persecution of their former foes; they wanted closure and new beginnings. ICC believes that if they persecuteor at least, try and persecute the accusedjustice would prevail. That is not always the case as Cobban specifies:

most atrocities these days are committed during violent intergroup conflict, most survivors seek first and foremost an end to the fighting and to regain basic economic and social stability Cobban (2009) said that after talking to Mozambicans of between 2001 and 2003 expressed their great satisfaction to the 1992 amnesty. People are still

people after, even war victims are the able move forward with their lives without the closure that the courts promised to provide.

Contribution to the Literature Essays, articles and anything of the sort were inspired from cases in International courts. They brought journalists and scholars alike the thrill of having to scrutinize every detail of humanitarian crimes and how they dealt with the person/s who orchestrated the crimes. Articles such as shown in Time shared the same sentiments as Cobbans article: Milosevic's deportation is testimony not to the power of international law but to the power of the U.S. The indictment that the Hague tribunal issued two years ago would be a dead letter today--and "international justice" an empty phrase--were it not for American power. It was the NATO bombing of Kosovo-overwhelmingly American--that expelled Serb forces, devastated Serbia and utterly discredited Milosevic (Krauthammer, 2001). Krauthammer (2001) added that with raw economic power America was able to persuade the new government to arrest Milosevic on April 1, 2001 because the U.S. would hold over $50 million as reconstruction aid. He was then spirited out of the country on June 28 because on the very next day, a

donors' conference of Western nations would be meeting to consider the Serbs request for $1.25 billion in reconstruction aid.

But in contrast, Purvis (2002) may have mentioned with full confidence in one of his articles that Prosecutors are building a strong legal case against him. Milosevic may be holding his own in the eyes of many Serbs, but it will be U.N. judges, not opinion polls, that decide his fate. It would be quick to say if the accused would be tried and convicted for their crimes. But writers are well inspired to write pieces that involve International Humanitarian Laws, each giving us insight on what is truly happening across the borders.

Recommendation Helen Cobbans article entitled International Courts is the most straight forward and unrelentingly negative on the success of International Courts. Its almost like a warninga ticking time bomb so to speakthat she would say its time to abandon the false hope of International Justice. The solution to the problem at hand is not to scrutinize the courts of their judgment but to extend our hands and help the well-being of the

victims of these atrocities. After all this is the purpose the International Courts. The author may be blunt as to say that she believes there is no use International Courts in advancing Justice for the oppressed. But I reckon, people will respond greatly on the matters at hand if they are vigilant. To maintain peace throughout these conflicting nations there should always be the respect of laws.

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