To punish the guilty: The emerging norm of international criminal prosecution

Date of Completion

January 2002


Law|Political Science, International Law and Relations




This project examines the development of the war crimes regime from pre-World War II precedents, through the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials, to the foundation of the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. It shows that the system of war crimes prosecution is best modeled as a regime. It also shows that despite the institutional failings of the regime, the norms of the system strengthened. It further argues that the traditional theory of regime creation positing the importance of a hegemon is not sufficiently varied to address the war crimes regime. The project argues that not only was a hegemon unnecessary to develop the general rules of the regime, but that these rules were developed largely by weak states and nonstate actors such as advocacy networks and individual activists. ^