Source: (2014) Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs. 3:1-112.

Drawing on the experience of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia ("ICTY") and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ("ICTR"), this article argues that idealism about what international criminal justice mechanisms can achieve has lead to ideologically-driven judicial decision-making in international criminal law." ICL idealism manifests itself in the belief that international criminal prosecutions can achieve a wide range of aspirations and goals, both international and local. According to the Secretary General of the United Nations, international criminal tribunals pursue a number of aims including "bringing to justice those responsible for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law, putting an end to such violations and preventing their recurrence, securing justice and dignity for victims, establishing a record of past events, promoting national reconciliation, reestablishing the rule of law and contributing to restoration of peace." Idealism about the institutional capacity of international tribunals also found expression in the reports of Judge Antonio Cassese, the first President of the ICTY and ICTR.22 Among the institutions' "Future Priorities," Judge Cassese confidently stated that the Tribunals were establishing an unassailable "historical record ... thereby preventing historical revisionism," which he lauded as "a most important function of the Tribunal." In the case of the ICTY in particular, Cassese added that in their judicial proceedings international judges endeavored "to establish as judicial fact the full details of the madness that transpired in the former Yugoslavia." (excerpt)