International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Are hybrid courts necessary?

David Cohen’s article on the tribunal’s for the atrocities in East Timor in September of 1999 highlights some of the weaknesses of hybrid courts for persecuting elite perpetrators. The concept of hybrid courts, in theory sounds like an ideal way to ensure that justice is met. However in practice it seems to undermine the power of universal jurisdiction. Cohen mentions that many of the elite perpetrators reside within Indonesia and are therefore inaccessible to put on trial in Timorese courts. It is my question then why aren’t these hybrid courts working in collaboration with Indonesia as well? In fact is it even necessary to have hybrid courts instead of one international court? One international court in which international funds can be pooled for the sake of humane society everywhere. I know this notion seems extremely ideological but I seriously believe that potential perpetrators could be opposed by one united and dominant force that allows no exceptions and is comprised of the best judiciaries

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3 responses to “Are hybrid courts necessary?

  1. Alana Tiemessen February 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    The International Criminal Court is meant to replace these sort of ad hoc courts and the more states that sign on to the Rome Treaty for the ICC the more that goal is realizable. The crimes committed in Timor were in 1999, and the ICC’s jurisdiction prevents it from taking cases of crimes that occurred prior to 2002. Same issue for Cambodia and Sierra Leone.

    Of course, even with a permanent international court there is a limited capacity to prosecute all crimes. The Court has to be selective….what should guide its selective prosecutorial strategy? We’ll get there!

  2. chrisumass February 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Even with the limited successes of hybrid tribunals in East Timor I feel they’re an intergral part of rebuilding a nation after crimes of humanity are committed. One of the main things that these tribunals strive to achieve is to create a sense of piece in the individuals affected by such crimes. We saw a clip today about a woman who was tortured in the Tuol Sleng Prison during the Cambodian Genocide/Politicide, who testified against Duch in a hybrid court. After doing so she felt as if a weight had been lifted off of her since now she was finally recognized as a victim. So while the East Timor hybrid court failed on so many accounts other hybrid courts have shown better promise and brought peace to victims of crimes inflicted upon them. As the professor stated above the international court also has a limited capacity to prosecute all crimes, so local courts need to exist to help maintain stability and prosecute future crimes. Hybrid courts help bring legitimacy and fairness to local courts while at the same time bringing consolidation to the victims with the international community providing help.

    • emkayumass February 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

      I was never questioning the need to bring peace to the victims of atrocities, there is no doubt about that; it’s fundamental to the transitional period, but hybrid courts seem to muddle the judicial process. I see the need for local courts and the need for the international court. Why the hybrid? It seems like a way to remove any sort of control from the local levels of administration, while giving the international bureaucrats an excuse to remain inactive.

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