The fiasco of the Milosevic trial produced a growing literature critical of international criminal tribunals and skeptical of the utility of these types of prosecutions. Much of that literature evaluates these types of prosecutions through the lens of restorative justice (broadly how the procedures fail to promote reconciliation) or norms production (how these trials often fail to deter future crimes). I think these are all valid critiques. But, if we look purely through the lens of retributive justice (whereby the focus is on the punishment of a particular crime), I think trials against the likes of Milsovic, Karadzic, and the other most notorious war criminals are probably worth the candle.

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