Saturday, December 6, 2008
The international criminal tribunals established by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter have an advantage over the International Criminal Court in that the composition of the courts can be changed much more easily. UN tribunals can be changed by a resolution of the UN Security Council. For example, UN Security Council Resolution 1837 adopted in September 2008 amended article 12 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. It is much more difficult to amend the statute of the International Criminal Court. The ICC is an independent treaty body, and changes must be made by the assembly of state parties rather than a simple UN Security Council Resolution.
Resolution 1837 also extends the terms of trial court and appellate judges for ICTY, which is scheduled to wind up its work. An advantage that the permanent ICC has over the temporary UN tribunals is that the ICC will always be able to prosecute individuals who might evade capture during the time when the tribunals are in operation. (Although we have to also concede that the tribunals have been in operation for a relatively long time now.)
We welcome comments on additional teaching tips when speaking about international criminal tribunals.