Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


The international community is committed to the creation of a Permanent War Crimes Tribunal. The Tribunal's operating charter will most likely mirror the charters of the Yugoslav and Rwandan International War Crimes Tribunals, a model the authors argue is unsuccessful for several reasons. They believe the Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals are largely a farce and have become mechanisms for major international war criminals to escape capital punishment.

This article proposes an alternative to the current Permanent War Crimes Tribunal as it is envisioned. The authors' alternative tribunal consists of four independent but interrelated panels: an Indictment Panel, Truth and Reconciliation Panel, Trial Panel and Appeals Panel. The initial focus of the authors' alternative approach is towards national reconciliation. If indicted war criminals refuse to participate in the reconciliation effort, they offer a system of international criminal justice that should take over. The establishment of a permanent tribunal with an explicit mandate and clearly-identified charging offenses avoids the most persuasive challenge to prior and existing ad hoc war crimes courts.