This paper explores the relationship between international war crimes tribunals and reconciliation in post-conflict societies. The aim of the present study was to examine how the role of international war crimes tribunals has changed in the peacebuilding process since the early years after World War II. Due to the evolving nature of international law and the international criminal legal system, international tribunals have become increasingly recognized as an integral component of peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was the first international tribunal with a mandate to contribute to international peace and security. The ICTY established a new precedent for the role of international tribunals. Not only did it secure accountability for past abuses, it made a significant contribution to the development of the rule of law in the region of the former Yugoslavia. As the first international criminal court since the Nuremberg tribunal and the first UN tribunal of its kind, the ICTY provides an important model for future judicial intervention in the aftermath of conflict. It has shown the extent to which international war crimes tribunals facilitate societal reconciliation is, and will be, understood within the context of the legacies they leave behind. Institutions such as the ICTY will not be judged solely on the merits of the ideals on which they were established, but instead on their concrete successes in the domestic arena and their ability to fortify domestic judicial capacity.

Rights Information

© 2014 Oriana LaVilla

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.