This chapter provides some context on fairness in international criminal trials. It discusses the establishment of the international criminal tribunals and the growth of international criminal procedure as a discipline. It distinguishes between international and hybrid criminal tribunals and argues that the key factor in determining whether a tribunal is international is whether its founding instrument was part of an international treaty or instrument. It analyses the nature of international criminal procedure against some key theories on the classification of legal systems, and discusses the role of judges in procedural law-making before the tribunals. It argues that, while human rights jurisprudence on the right to a fair trial cannot be ignored in assessments of the fairness of international criminal trials, such standards do not enunciate best practice, given that the jurisprudence only provides illustration on breaches of these rights and look at whether proceedings ‘as a whole’ were fair.
Keywords: international courts and tribunals, international criminal law, human rights, right to a fair trial, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), International Criminal Court (ICC), Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
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