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The author examines how developments in international criminal law – including creation of the International Criminal Court and various hybrid tribunals – can have an impact on rule-of-law building efforts in post-conflict societies. Although trials of atrocity perpetrators primarily and appropriately focus on fairly trying the accused individuals, these processes also have a wider impact on public perceptions of justice and potentially can influence a society’s ability to embrace rule of law norms. The quality of outreach and capacity-building accompanying these trials may well have a decisive effect on whether these proceedings, on balance, strengthen or undermine public confidence in justice and justice institutions in societies recovering from atrocities. This piece stresses the need to supplement international and hybrid criminal trials with more meaningful outreach to the affected populations, and with more systematic domestic capacity-building and empowerment aimed at both formal justice systems and civil society.


Copyright © 2009 Cambridge University Press;

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1 Hague J. on Rule L. 87-97 (2009)