Acquittals in International Criminal Justice – Pyrrhic Victories?

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Despite the great body of academic research on international criminal justice, little attention has been given to the situation of those who have been acquitted. This article aims to fill this gap by offering an empirical overview of what happens to persons acquitted by the ICTY, ICTR, and the ICC. Rather than providing an in-depth legal analysis, the article emphasizes the challenges acquitted persons encounter. It discusses in particular: (1) to what extent and why some acquitted individuals are barred from residing in the country of their preference; (2) whether and why they are facing subsequent prosecution; and (3) what obstacles there are for acquitted persons seeking to obtain compensation for the lengthy periods spent in detention. Although similar problems may be experienced by individuals who have been acquitted for conventional crimes in domestic systems, the authors argue that persons acquitted by international criminal tribunals are relatively more susceptible to post-acquittal challenges because of the unique nature of the alleged crimes and the institutional context in which international criminal trials take place. The authors conclude that there are no easy solutions, and that some of the problems identified are inherent to the system of international criminal justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-262
Number of pages22
JournalLeiden Journal of International law
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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