Prosecution of war crimes in Bosnian cantonal and district courts : the role of the rule of law
International law in domestic courts : rule of law reform in post-conflict states
Cambridge [etc.] : Intersentia, 2012
In this chapter on the prosecution of war crimes in Bosnian cantonal and district courts, the author explores the judicial inadequacies that have become apparent through case law and proposes potential ways for rectification. With the establishment of the ICTY, an international body was set up specifically designed to bring to justice those who committed serious violations of international humanitarian law during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia since 1991. Concurrently, Bosnian local courts were empowered to try those cases that concerned "less serious" war crimes. The role of the local courts will, however, considerably increase once the ICTY's mandate expires. By taking into account the tangibility of an assessment of local courts' modi operandi and the impossibility of an operation of the rule of law without the desire to be bound by the respective laws, the contribution examines some of the decision taken by Bosnian cantonal and district courts. Particular attention is paid to the preservation of international criminal law norms and standardsm and its impact on the receptiveness of the judicial branch. In some instances the practice of Bosnian courts displays their failure to follow international precedents, and at times it has been proven to be irreconcilable with basic principles of war crimes prosecution.