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Part II Practice—Scholarly and Practitioner Accounts of UN Treaty-Making, C Human Rights, Ch.23B International Criminal Law: practitioner reflection

Hirad Abtahi, Philippe Kirsch

From: The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Treaties

Simon Chesterman, David M. Malone, Santiago Villalpando

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 October 2023

By virtue of its longevity, territorial scope, mandate, and resources, the UN has been pivotal in the development of international criminal justice. While its contribution has been mostly institutional, in terms of genesis, establishment, and functioning of international and hybrid criminal courts, the UN has also shaped their procedural and substantive law. Starting with the first to be established—the ad hoc tribunals—the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII, adopted the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) statutes and fully managed them. To a lesser extent, the same could be said of Timor Leste’s Special Panel for Serious Crimes. Regarding the creation of hybrid criminal courts, that is, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the UN served as a bilateral treaty-making forum for the negotiation and conclusion of UN-member states’ agreements. Through the ICTY completion strategy and rule 11bis, the UN also internationalized domestic courts (War Crimes Chambers) to enhance national judicial capacity building to prosecute international crimes. Finally, the UN served as the ultimate multilateral treaty-making body in the ICC’s half-century-long creation; starting with the Genocide Convention, and continuing with the ILC and subsequent negotiations leading to the adoption of the ICC Statute, which created a complex institutional and jurisdictional relationship with the UN. Institutionally, this has included cooperation and judicial assistance, dispute settlement functions, UN treaty functions, and adherence to the UN common system. Jurisdictionally, this has involved Chapter VII referrals and deferrals and jurisdiction over a range of crimes close to other UN created tribunals.

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