The judicial activity of the ad hoc tribunals created for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia has been more than the occasion for developing international law and punishing the guilty. The two tribunals are not in the business of writing history; they are writing criminal law judgments. However, their jurisprudence is full of those little memoranda which record the crimes of particular individuals, the suffering of their victims, and the context in which such events occurred. As they do so, the tribunals contribute to removing the obstacle to belief that the sheer horror of some of those crimes might raise and they leave for future generations some record of those events free of the burden of collective guilt. At the very least, the prosecution and punishment of crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda made us realise that law and justice play a far more essential part in the life of the people than had been previously thought.
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