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Vague Indictments and Justice at the International Criminal Tribunals: Learning from the World of Common Law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reviews and compares the state of jurisprudence of both international Tribunals with case law from common law jurisdictions, with the objective of stimulating international criminal law with relevant general principles of law recognised by modern nations. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) have often found occasion to draw upon general principles of law for sources of law that govern their work, in the absence of help from customary international law, their statutes and their procedure rules. The Rules of Procedure and Evidence of both ICTR and ICTY clearly point them in that direction. The Tribunals have often drawn procedural inspiration from common law jurisdictions. Sadly, though one area in proceedings of the Tribunals that greatly beckons them to rely more on common law procedures is in the matter of objections to the indictment on grounds of vagueness.

Keywords: common law; indictment; International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR); International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)



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