Human Rights Review

, 10:349

Building the Rule of International Criminal Law: The Role of Judges and Prosecutors in the Apprehension of War Criminals


DOI: 10.1007/s12142-009-0123-5

Cite this article as:
McClendon, G.C. Hum Rights Rev (2009) 10: 349. doi:10.1007/s12142-009-0123-5


International criminal tribunals are weak institutions, especially since they do not have their own police forces to execute arrest warrants. Understandably then, much of the existing literature has focused exclusively on pressure from major powers and on changing domestic politics to explain the apprehension of suspected war criminals. In contrast, this article turns attention back to the tribunals themselves. I propose three ways in which the activities of international criminal tribunals impact compliance with arrest warrants: through the selection of individuals to indict, demonstrated leniency on some suspects and outreach to domestic legal professionals. Using a duration model that accounts for sample selection and data collected on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, I test these theories alongside other existing explanations. I find that court activities can have an independent effect on the successful implementation of international criminal law.


International law Compliance War crimes Human rights Tribunals 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politics DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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