International Criminal Justice and Regime Change: The Stunted Transition (SWP 43)

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Steflja, Izabela, International Criminal Justice and Regime Change: The Stunted Transition, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 43/2015, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, May 2015.

Date created: 
2015
Identifier: 
ISSN 1922-5725
Keywords: 
transitional justice
international law
war crimes
genocide
democratization
Rwanda
Bosnia
Serbia
Abstract: 

This paper interrogates the link between international criminal justice and democratization. In particular the paper examines the effect of International Criminal Tribunals (ICTs) on domestic politics and regime change in the countries to which these tribunals pertain. The transitology and democratization literature rarely speak to the liberal institutionalist literature on international justice yet these literatures are concerned with the same goal of political transition and significant insights can be gained from exploring the theoretical links. This paper focuses on the local perception of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and the local perception of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Rwanda. The empirical findings are based on fifteen consecutive months of research, followed by two additional trips to each country. My data suggest that ICTs interact with domestic perceptions and domestic politics in counterintuitive ways to produce unintended outcomes, including harming local attempts to advance human rights and democratization and empowering ultranationalist and authoritarian anti-reform forces.

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English
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Other
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