This paper provides an overview of important policy issues arising from controversial appeals judgments in the Gotovina, Perišić, and Šainović cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

This brief stems from an off-the-record expert roundtable convened by The Hague Institute, together with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies – University of Leiden. Its recommendations are directed at policymakers, scholars and practitioners, and seek to strengthen international criminal justice mechanisms by enhancing the quality of international judges, judgments and judicial processes, as well as by improving the image of international criminal justice institutions.

In February 2014, The Hague Institute for Global Justice, together with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies – University of Leiden, convened a roundtable to address the controversial appeal judgments issued by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (UN ICTY) in the Gotovina, Perišić, and Šainović cases.

The roundtable brought together a select group of seasoned legal practitioners, renowned legal scholars and distinguished military professionals to discuss the principal legal issues arising from these judgments, as well as their implications for international legal regimes and institutions.

While the roundtable discussion addressed a number of substantive and procedural issues related to the above mentioned cases, this policy brief will focus on four specific themes, which have significant policy implications for future international criminal proceedings and the development of international law:

  1. Fragmentation of international law and its implications for legality and the legitimacy of international criminal justice mechanisms;
  2. Relationship between Chambers of Trial and Appeal, focusing on the appropriate scope of appellate review (final judgment);
  3. Quality of judicial deliberation and expertise at international criminal tribunals; and
  4. Impact of ICTY judgments in the former Yugoslavia.

This brief also presents several policy recommendations arising from these themes, which are directed at different entities including intergovernmental bodies that play a legislative and oversight role with regard to international criminal justice mechanisms; relevant administrative, prosecutorial and judicial organs of such mechanisms; non-governmental organizations; and legal scholars and practitioners.

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