n African Human Rights Law Journal - Criminal justice through international criminal tribunals : reflections on some lessons for national criminal justice systems

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article explores some lessons national criminal justice systems may draw from the law applicable to, and the jurisprudence engendered by, United Nations ad hoc international criminal tribunals, with emphasis on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In adjudicating the core international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, these tribunals have broken new ground that enrich the development of international law. It is noteworthy that the contribution of these tribunals is also relevant to national criminal justice systems. The article argues that, although UN ad hoc tribunals are more recent and lesser developed than national criminal justice systems around the world, and were not established strictly speaking as oversight mechanisms to verify that actions of states give effect to international law, several aspects of the law applicable to, and the jurisprudence of, UN ad hoc tribunals may guide the reform and development of national criminal justice systems in their procedural, evidential and substantive laws, and bring them to the standards of international law and human rights.

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