Repression of war crimes through international tribunals
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War or armed conflict, the technically preferable general term, represents a major breakdown of the "normal" conduct of International relations. It is also, tragically, a recurrent feature of the modern world and provisions are accordingly made for its occurrence in public international law. The provisions comprises principally the jus ad bellum relating to resort armed forces in conduct of international relations and the jus in bello, relating to constraints upon actual conduct of hostilities, and forms the subject matter of this directed research.Events such as the armed conflicts in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Great Lakes region, and the former Yugoslavia confront us day after day with the cruelty of war and the suffering, death and destruction it causes. They also raise an obvious question: is the behaviour of the belligerent parties subject to any limitations? The answer to this question is not hard to give: such limits do exist, even though they may not be entirely unequivocal in all cases. To the extent that they belong to the realm of law (rather than that of morality alone) they constitute the body of "International Humanitarian Law applicable in armed conflict". The purpose of the essay will, therefore, be to examine the role played by international tribunals in the enforcement of international humanitarm law and other related laws. This seems useful for two reasons. For one thing, the humanitarian law of armed conflict depends for its realization on the degree to which it is known to the largest possible number of people. For another, an intensive process of international deliberation and negotiation has been recently resulted in the adoption of a number new treaties on humanitarian law, and it is important that public opinion be given an opportunity to take cognisance of these. It is for these two preceding reasons, that credence and weight has been given to an essay on this subject matter.The choice of subject has been motivated partly by a feeling that it has not received that attention in this country from the government, legal profession and the armed forces, which is its due; and partly by a conviction that recent changes in technology and strategy have given a new significance to the legal regulation of the use offeree.A short comment on the content of the essay would now seem to be apposite. The title of the essay seems broad, but development of the essay will be confined to the pursuit of a main theme, viz, an examination of the role played by international tribunals in the enforcement of international humanitarian law. The essay will start with a general introduction. Under Chapter I where the concept of criminal responsibility and the basic features of the law governing the use of armed force will be explained. This will be followed, in Chapter II, by a discussion of the set-up and work of international tribunals of the past. Against this background, the establishment and activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Social Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (ICTY) will be dealt with in Chapter III, followed by an examination of the background, the establishment and activities of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Chapter IV. Chapter V will be devoted to a discussion of some of the significant, contributions which the ICTY and the ICTR have made to the development of international criminal law in general and international humanitarian law in particular. In concluding, under Chapter IV, an appraisal of the efficacy of the mechanism for repussion of war crimes through international tribunals will be made.
- Law