The Legacy of Crimes and Crises

Transitional Justice, Domestic Change and the Role of the International Community

by Klaus Bachmann (Volume editor) Dorota Heidrich (Volume editor)
©2016 Edited Collection 262 Pages


The book shows how transitional justice experiences influence domestic change and what the role of the international community in these processes is. It is divided into three thematic parts. The first one presents regional and local transitional justice efforts, aiming at showing different mechanisms implemented within transitional justice mechanisms. The following part deals with the role and impact of international criminal tribunals set up to prosecute grave human rights abuses. The third part is devoted to the role of the international community in mass atrocity crimes prevention. The contributions prove that transitional justice measures are not universal. Rather, they must be characterized by the principle of local ownership and be crafted to circumstances on the ground.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of contents
  • List of tables and graphs
  • List of abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgements
  • Part I: Regional and Local Transitional Justice Efforts
  • Patrick Wegner - Regional and Local Perceptions of Justice and their Impact on International Investigations
  • Allan Rutambo Ngari - Dealing with the Legacy of Mass Atrocities in the Great Lakes – Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Jan Hofmeyr - Restorative Justice in Post-Apartheid South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Deferred Promise
  • Anna Grzywacz - Transitional Justice in East Timor: Timorese Political Pragmatism and its Effectiveness
  • Gjylbehare Bella Murati - A Surrogate State’s Approach to Transitional Justice. The Kosovo Experience
  • Part II: International Criminal Tribunals and the Prosecution of Mass Atrocities
  • Klaus Bachmann - The Loathed Tribunal. Public Opinion in Serbia Toward the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
  • Ana Ljubojević - The Vukovar and Ovčara Trials and Their Influence on Popular Narratives about the War in Croatia and Serbia
  • Allan Rutambo Ngari - Foreign Judicial Intervention and the Media – The Case of the ICC and Kenya
  • Patrycja Grzebyk - International Tribunals’ Selective Justice towards African States
  • Part III: The International Community and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities
  • Isabelle Tallec - The Role of International Criminal Justice in French Foreign Policy
  • Agnieszka Bieńczyk-Missala - Early Warning and the Prevention of Atrocity Crimes: The Role of the United Nations
  • Dorota Heidrich - Responsibility to Protect – a Tool for Atrocity Crimes Prevention?
  • Bibliography
  • The authors
  • Index of Names

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List of tables and graphs

Table 1 Trust in the ICTY across the countries under its jurisdiction 2002

Table 2 Attitudes towards Milosević and towards delivery to the ICTY (%) (Serbia 1999)

Table 3 Attitudes towards Milosević and NATO air strikes

Table 4 Associations between attitudes towards extradition to the ICTY and geopolitical orientations in 2000

Table 5 ICTY’s bias as perceived by Serb respondents in December 2002

Table 6 Attitudes towards the ICTY, own war criminals, national pride and European integration 2011

Table 7 Strength of association between attitudes towards the ICTY and ethnocentrism and geopolitical orientation in 2011

Table 8 Genocide denial in Bosnia and Serbia in 2011 (as percentage of all respondents of an ethnicity)

Table 9 Responsibility to prevent – preventive toolbox

Table 10 Targeted prevention toolbox

Graph 1 Temporal view of systematic and targeted prevention

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List of abbreviations

| 13 →


In 2011 protesters, outraged by the suicide of a petty trader in Tunis, took to the streets of Tunisia and ousted Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who had run the country as a dictator. The protests opened the doors to the first and so far only success of the Arab Spring. After the formation of several interim governments and a number of violent incidents and political assassinations, the country held successful and peaceful elections, approved a new constitution and elected a president. By then, it had already come under the pressure of various groups, which lobbied for contradicting requests and demands. There were victims’ organizations, which, as usual after a transition, demanded justice, understood as retribution against the perpetrators of past Human Rights abuses and compensation for themselves. There were groups urging for bringing to justice policemen, since the police were regarded as instrumental in carrying out the repressions against protesters prior to Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s escape to Saudi Arabia. But there were also groups that deplored the dire state of public security under the conditions of a disorganized, widely despised and disoriented police force. Political parties linked to the (mostly exiled) opposition against Ben Ali urged for the screening and vetting of public employees, in order to cut off elite bonds between the ancien regime and the new order.

Looking for closer ties with Western democracies, the Tunisian government was encouraged by the European Union to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (which it has done) and thus to join the global “fight against impunity”, which, after the end of the cold war, had led to creation of the UN ad hoc tribunals and a number of internationalized jurisdictions, as well as the ICC itself. The calls for “punishing perpetrators” in Tunisia seemed to prevail, although the main culprit – Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali himself – was beyond their reach, because Saudi Arabia, never having ratified the Rome Statute, refused to extradite him. The further events of the Arab Spring raised doubts about the universal applicability of the fight against impunity and its potential consequences for a country like Tunisia.

In Libya, popular protests similar to the ones in Tunisia have not led to democratization, but to a cruel and protracted civil war, the intervention of foreign military forces (officially undertaken in order to protect civilians, but de facto with the aim of supporting the armed opposition against Muhammar Gaddafi and to overthrow him) and the division of the country among competing and fiercely fighting rival militias. At a relatively early stage of the conflict, the United Nation ← 13 | 14 → Security Council (UNSC) decided to refer the situation in Libya to the ICC, which in consequence issued arrest warrants for several members of the Libyan leadership, including Muhammar Gaddafi. Soon afterwards, United States (US) diplomats found out that by supporting the ICC referral, they had closed a back door to transition, which would have enabled Gaddafi and his entourage to escape and therefore facilitate a peaceful transition of power. After the ICC referral, Gaddafi was forced to fight to the bitter end. Common criticism among the Arab League and the African Union states towards Gaddafi’s policies that had been of primary importance for the foreign intervention authorized by UNSC resolution 1973 (2011) was paramount to the lack of asylum offers for the authoritarian Libyan leader. US attempts to find an acceptable shelter for Gaddafi failed, and, as we know, Gaddafi did decide to continue fighting, increasing the number of casualties, and devastating his country.1 None of the three Libyan nationals whose cases were referred to the ICC have been surrendered to The Hague.2 In July 2015, a court in Tripoli ruled against thirty former members of the Gaddafi regime, nine of whom, including Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and Adbullah Al Senussi (with whose cases the ICC has dealt), were sentenced to death by firing squad.3


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (January)
atrocity crimes crimes prevention truth and reconciliation commisions international criminal tribunals international prosecutions
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 262 pp., 10 tables, 1 graph

Biographical notes

Klaus Bachmann (Volume editor) Dorota Heidrich (Volume editor)

Klaus Bachmann is a Professor of political science at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw (Poland). His research focuses on Transitional Justice, International Criminal Law and Modern European History. Dorota Heidrich is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw. Her interests focus on forced migration, international crimes prevention and international organizations.


Title: The Legacy of Crimes and Crises
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264 pages