Wednesday, November 7, 2007
The international tribunals formed in response to crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia have failed to effectively deter war crimes and punish perpetrators, said Washington and Lee School of Law International CrimProf Mark Drumbl during a talk at the Law School Nov. 1. Drumbl recently penned a book on the subject, “Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law,” which aims to reveal the weaknesses in the current international criminal tribunals and offer more effective strategies to prosecute those who commit mass atrocities such as genocide.
“War crimes target everyone,” Drumbl said. “We are all victims.…We need to set up a system in these states where oppressors bear personal burdens for crimes.”
After the Rwandan genocide and the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the United Nations established two international criminal tribunals to prosecute those who participated in genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in each of the conflicts. Drumbl explained that the tribunals had two goals: to hold individuals accountable for participating in mass atrocities, and to deter others from committing similar crimes in the future by demonstrating that they would be prosecuted. Both tribunals are still prosecuting individuals for the crimes.
Drumbl said that in “Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law,” he wanted to explain “how, why, and through what method should we prosecute crime such as genocide.” His book also criticizes the current international criminal tribunals for only having jurisdiction to prosecute individuals rather than governments or organizations. Additionally, Drumbl said that the tribunals fail to deter war crimes because they have been unable to adequately convict and punish criminals. [Mark Godsey]