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Fairness in National Courts Prosecuting International Crimes: The Case of the War Crimes Chamber of Bosnia-Herzegovina

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image of International Criminal Law Review

The Bosnian War Crimes Chamber was established to adjudicate cases of violations of international law by lower-ranking individuals in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were not prosecuted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). One of the most critical issues facing this Court, however, is whether its justice is unbiased by the ethnic divisions that characterized the Bosnian War (1992–1995) and the politics of Bosnia-Herzegovina ever since. Using a new database of first instance verdicts from the War Crimes Chamber (WCC), we test for the impact of ethnic bias on verdicts and sentences. While initial analyses seem to suggest such bias may exist, our multivariate model of sentencing indicates that other factors such as the gravity of the crimes and individual circumstances play a more powerful role than ethnicity.

Affiliations: 1: University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA,;


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