Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

David Andrews

Reader 2

Heidi Haddad

Rights Information

© 2014 Oriana H D LaVilla


This thesis explores the relationship between international war crimes tribunals and peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. The aim of the present study was to examine how the role and function of international tribunals has changed since the establishment of the Nuremberg tribunal in 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 processes in the aftermath of conflict. As the first international tribunal mandated to restore international peace and security, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) set a new precedent for international tribunals. Beginning with its establishment, there appeared to be a new trend of using international judicial mechanisms to promote peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of conflict. One important element of change was the increased tendency of international tribunals to engage in public outreach and help build the capacity of national justice sector institutions. As the first international tribunal to succeed the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals and the first UN tribunal of its kind, the ICTY has shown the extent to which international 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.