Taking Stock: The International Criminal Courts at a Crossroad: Unfulfilled Demands for Justice or Unattainable Expectations?


The creation of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in 1993 and 1994 respectively, and the adoption of the Statute of Rome in 1998 establishing the International Criminal Court represent historic milestones towards the consolidation of international mechanisms to punish the perpetrators of the most serious crimes and deliver justice for thousands of victims affected by conflicts and violence in the world. These international courts faced divergent expectations at the time of their inception, particularly concerning the role they should play and the reach that their judgments should have for redressing injustice and gross human rights violations. More than 20 years after the creation of the first ad hoc international courts and 13 years after the establishment of the International Criminal Court, these tribunals continue to be the object of ongoing criticism regarding the outcome of their work and the impact of their decisions. Moreover, the International Criminal Court has faced additional critiques in recent times due to the obstacles faced to advanced proceedings, gather evidence and convict the perpetrators of heinous crimes. The panel will explore the conflicting expectations placed on these institutions and contrast them with what they have achieved in reality, as well as the challenges that remain ahead to fulfill the existing demands for justice at the international level.


  • Fausto Pocar, judge, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
  • Sylvia Steiner, judge, International Criminal Court

Moderator: Douglass Cassel, professor of law, Notre Dame Law School

This event is part of the ASIL-American University Human Rights Speaker Series. 

Date and Location

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
American Society of International Law
Address 1: 
2223 Massachusetts Ave NW