'Predictably Irrational' – International Sentencing and its Discourse against the Backdrop of Preliminary Empirical Findings on ICTY Sentencing Practices

In: International Criminal Law Review


Sentencing of atrocity crimes is a highly disputed topic among experts, as well as the wider public, particularly in post-conflict countries dealing with international core crimes. Yet, empirical sentencing research, while quite developed in regard to national jurisdictions, is still in its infancy for international criminal justice. Furthermore, much criticism of sentencing practices, e.g. of the ICTY, is based on anecdotal evidence rather than empirical investigation. This article reflects on some of the 'stereotypes' and 'myths' of international sentencing, draws on historical examples and approaches to understand international sentencing decision-making, and provides empirical findings in regard to possible patterns in ICTY sentences and the underlying decision-making process. Topics for substantial and long-term international sentencing research are then presented.

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