Domestic trials for international crimes - A critical analysis of Croatian war crimes sentencing jurisprudence

Maja Munivrana Vajda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article will describe and critically reflect upon the sentencing practices of Croatian courts with respect to war crimes committed during the armed conflict in Croatia in the early 1990s. Over the past two and a half decades, more than 3,500 alleged war criminals have been put on trial, with some 600 finally being convicted. Yet many proceedings were initially commenced without sufficient evidence, in absentia and, arguably, with a bias towards ethnic Serbs. This article first seeks to determine whether ethnicity has played a role in prosecuting and sentencing for war crimes and then to identify to what extent sentencing goals and principles, including aggravating and mitigating factors, proclaimed by Croatian courts reflect the extraordinary nature of international crimes. An attempt is made to compare these sentences and principles with sentencing practices at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-38
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Criminal Law Review
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aggravating and mitigating circumstances
  • Bias
  • Croatia
  • Ethnicity
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
  • Purpose of punishment
  • Sentencing
  • War crimes

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