Do international criminal tribunals deliver justice in divided societies? Examining the ICTY in Croatia
Law and Society Association 2013 Annual Meeting : Power, Privilege, and the Pursuit of Justice : Legal Challenges in Precarious Times
The Law and Society Association (LSA)
The recent spread of international criminal tribunals as a dominant measure of transitional justice contrasts with the lack of research that would substantiate their purported utility at the national level. Are decisions of international courts perceived as more efficient than national courts in delivering justice and promoting reconciliation in divided societies? In order to fill this gap, this paper examines the assumption that international criminal tribunals forge a shared perception of justice in divided societies. The international legal community assumes that international trials contribute to justice by punishing those responsible for human rights violations, regardless their national origin and/or ethnic background. In contrast, the social identity theory suggests that people tend to pass more lenient judgments on perpetrators from the same side of the conflict and stricter judgments on perpetrators from the outer group. This paper therefore hypothesizes that criminal trials lead to justice under three conditions: (i) they are domestic, (ii) result in punishment, and (iii) concern enemy wrongdoers. This hypothesis is tested by means of an experiment that was embedded in the nation-wide representative survey in Croatia in 2008. The experiment manipulates the critical variables in 2x2x2 complete factorial design. The findings from the OLS linear regression analysis reveal the significance of the the third-order interaction term, which is the statistical expression of conditionality. This suggests that the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is better suited to deliver justice than domestic trials only if it punishes enemy wrongdoers.
David, R. (2013, May). Do international criminal tribunals deliver justice in divided societies? Examining the ICTY in Croatia. Paper presented at the Law and Society Association 2013 Annual Meeting: Power, Privilege, and the Pursuit of Justice : Legal Challenges in Precarious Times, Boston.