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General Principles of Law in the Decisions of International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

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Chapter Summary

The undeveloped nature of international criminal law, the imprecision of many of its legal rules, the need to make compelling legal arguments, and the existence of relevant domestic criminal law analogies have facilitated resort to and the subsequent application of general principles of law by international criminal courts and tribunals. This chapter investigates the role of general principles of law in the judgments of the early international criminal tribunals, namely the IMT and the IMTFE. It also deals with the judgment of the IMT and IMTFE. The chapter then focuses on ICTY, ICTR, ICC and SCSL. It examines the decisions of these international tribunals pertaining to the applicability of general principles of law. The SCSL was established by agreement concluded between the UN and the government of Sierra Leone, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1315 of 14 August 2000.

Keywords: general principles of law; ICC; ICTR; ICTY; IMT; IMTFE; international criminal courts; SCSL; tribunals



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