Tadic Revisited: Some critical comments on the legacy and legitimacy of the ICTY


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This article will return to questions raised during the establishment of the ICTY and particularly the Tadic case. It will be argued here that the aspect of Tadic that remains unresolved is the fundamental question of whether the ICTY has been established legitimately. The legitimacy argument forms an important part of the legacy debate of the ICTY. Although the Tadic Appeals Chamber has formally answered the question of the legitimacy of the ICTY it will be argued that the reasoning of the Appeals Chamber was not sufficiently strong or persuasive. The legitimacy debate reflects the wider influence of the ICTY's jurisprudence since some of the arguments made by the Tadic Appeals Chamber have been replicated or repeated in the trials of Saddam Hussein and Charles Taylor. The legitimacy question is crucial since it affects the very foundations of the ICTY. If the legitimacy of the ICTY is not established satisfactorily, it affects how one considers the achievements mentioned above. In a sense the substantive and procedural achievements of the ICTY are dependent on the legitimacy of the ICTY. This article will consider the difference between the ICTY's self-perception and the way the work of the Tribunal over the last sixteen years has been perceived from the outside. The focus of the article will be on the lingering question of the legitimacy of the Tribunal. It has argued that legitimacy can also be acquired after the initial establishment. The article will consider whether the ICTY's initial defect in legitimacy could subsequently be remedied by the fairness of the proceedings and the moral power of the ICTY.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-1009
JournalGoettingen Journal of International Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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