Learning lessons through the prism of legitimacy: What future for International Criminal Courts and Tribunals?

PluriCourts seminar with Joanna Nicholson.

International criminal law (ICL) has entered a time of flux. Some international criminal tribunals (ICTs) have closed their doors, whereas others are in the process of being created. This paper argues that as ICL moves into its next phase, the concept of legitimacy can be a useful prism through which to analyse the past work of ICTs in order to learn lessons for the future. The paper applies a three-pronged conception of legitimacy, analyzing the establishment of ICTs; their procedures; and their performance.  It finds that ICTs are certainly imperfect institutions, with valid concerns regarding the legitimacy of the creation of these courts; how they operate and their wider effects. However, a legitimacy analysis provides useful indications both as to the limitations of these institutions and as to their future possibilities.


PluriCourt Seminars are a forum for pluridisciplinary discussion of core issues relating to international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts scholars or invited speakers present new and ongoing research or comment on current questions. The seminars are open to everyone.

Tags: Criminal law, Legitimacy, Performance
Published Apr. 16, 2018 11:00 AM - Last modified Sep. 25, 2019 10:28 AM