Criminal Law Forum

, Volume 23, Issue 1–3, pp 135–159 | Cite as

Sentencing Coherence in International Criminal Law: The Cases of Biljana Plavšić and Miroslav Bralo

  • Pascale Chifflet
  • Gideon BoasEmail author


The guilty pleas and sentencing of war criminals, Biljana Plavšić and Miroslav Bralo, expose aspects of the system of international criminal justice that have received far too little attention. Beyond the reference to basic sentencing principles, and the mechanical application of mitigating and aggravating circumstances, the international criminal courts and tribunals have never adequately grappled with a fundamental question in sentencing those who commit international crimes: is a crime committed in war of the same gravity as a crime committed in normal circumstances? These issues permeate war crimes trials from Nuremberg to the current work of the International Criminal Court. This paper will explore some of these issues through an examination of these two different cases, one a former senior politician in the Bosnian Serb Presidency who co-orchestrated the Bosnian Serb campaign of ethnic violence, the other a brutal physical perpetrator in the Bosnian Croat war effort. It will finally consider what possible responses might be offered to the dilemmas this analysis raises.


International Criminal Court Appeal Chamber Rome Statute Trial Chamber International Criminal Tribunal 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash Law SchoolMelbourneAustralia

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