Selecting Cases at International Criminal Courts: who bears the most or greatest responsibility for atrocity crimes? (completed)

Sofie A. E. Høgestøl’s PhD projects aims to uncover how international criminal courts select which cases to prosecute. 

About the project

Case selection is a necessary institutional feature of the international criminal justice system. The magnitude of the atrocity crimes that come under the jurisdiction of international criminal courts, are of such a scale that it would be practically impossible to prosecute every single individual participated in their commission. It is estimated that international criminal courts are only able to prosecute 1% of all the perpetrators who have participated in a conflict. This means that the prosecutors of these courts have to be very selective when determining which cases to bring to trial. 

Nevertheless, there have been few studies into how international criminal courts select cases. This dissertation seeks to fill the gap in the literature by conducting both a doctrinal and an empirical study into case selection.

A three-pronged methodological approach has been adopted, aimed at studying both the law and practice of case selection. For one would be getting an incomplete picture of case selection if the study were to limit itself to the black letter of the law, given the discretion that prosecutors have been given in making the above-mentioned selection decisions.

Hence, the dissertation will encompass:

  1. a doctrinal analysis of the law
  2. a mapping and analysis of the cases selected at the international criminal courts
  3. and an in-depth case study of the prosecutions at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, aimed at revealing how the prosecutors of this court exercised their discretion in practice

End date: 01. 04. 2018


Published Aug. 11, 2016 3:13 PM - Last modified Mar. 7, 2019 9:29 AM