Quality of Reasoning in International Criminal Tribunals

Ajevski, Marjan (2018). Quality of Reasoning in International Criminal Tribunals. In: Bencze, Mátyás and Ng, Gar Yein eds. How to Measure the Quality of Judicial Reasoning. Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice (IUSGENT) (69). Springer, pp. 207–224.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-97316-6_13


It is not unreasonable to say that international criminal law is, for the most part, a judge made law. For better or worse, given the diffused nature of its sources of law as well as the institutions built to enforce it, the rising case law gave the international criminal courts a chance and a burden to develop international criminal law into an expansive, and familiar, branch of international law. In this Chapter, I attempt to analyse and elaborate the main vehicle through which this transformation has taken place – the judgements of the courts – in terms of the quality of their reasoning. I will piece together some general rules of thumb that have been created in the branch of international criminal law to assess the quality of reasoning of the different International Criminal Courts. My focus will be the work of the International Criminal Court, although the work of the ICC rests to a large degree on the work of the previous ad hoc tribunals. As such, I will analyse the criticisms that have been levelled at the international criminal tribunals in terms of their interpretation and reasoning, highlight some of the continuing concerns and assess the ICC’s current practice.

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