Rehabilitation and Early Release of Perpetrators of International Crimes: A Case Study of the ICTY and ICTR

in International Criminal Law Review
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While cited as one of the goals of international sentencing and used as a factor for deciding on early release, rehabilitation of perpetrators of international crimes has thus far been neglected by academia and practitioners. This article presents an analysis of all ICTY and ICTR early release decisions handed down until July 2013, indicating how the tribunals have conceptualised rehabilitation of these ‘enemies of mankind’. After observing that the success rate of rehabilitating international prisoners is very high, we suggest that this may be attributable to (i) a lack of the Presidents’ critical evaluation of the materials upon which he bases his conclusions regarding prisoners’ rehabilitation and (ii) the fact that perpetrators of international crimes are a ‘different kind of perpetrator’. We offer suggestions to re-conceptualise rehabilitation in the context of international crimes and to adjust the enforcement system of international sentences in order to better promote rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation and Early Release of Perpetrators of International Crimes: A Case Study of the ICTY and ICTR

in International Criminal Law Review




Beresfordsupra note 1 pp. 44–45.


Van Kalmthout and Durnescusupra note 3; or: Raynor and Robinson supra note 3.


Allensupra note 21 p. 98.


Bagaric and Morsssupra note 1 p. 222.


Van Kalmthout and Durnescusupra note 3.


Van Kalmthout and Durnescuibid. p. 28; Allen supra note 21 p. 98; David Garland The Culture of Control. Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society (Oxford University Press Oxford 2001) pp. 34–35.


Van Kalmthout and Durnescuibid. p. 15. Kathryn M. Campbell ‘Rehabilitation Theory’ in Mary Bosworth (ed.) Encyclopedia of Prisons and Correctional Facilities (Sage Publications Thousand Oaks 2005) pp. 832.


Campbellibid. p. 833.


Klaus Hofmann‘Some Remarks on the Enforcement of International Sentences in Light of the Galic case at the ICTY’Zeitschrift für Internationale Strafrechtsdogmatik: ZIS online (2011) <> 26 June 2013 p. 842.


Dragan Obrenovićsupra note 35 para. 23.


Haradin Balasupra note 33 para. 24. See also Decision of President on Application for Pardon or Commutation of Sentence of Dario Kordić ICTY IT-95-14/2-ES para. 19.


Bisengimanasupra note 20 para. 26.


Drumblsupra note 1 p. 24; Alette Smeulers and Fred Grünfeld (2011). International Crimes and other Gross Human Rights Violations. A multi- and Interdisciplinary Textbook (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers Leiden 2011) 20; Alette Smeulers and Barbora Holá ‘ICTY and the Culpability of Different Types of Perpetrators of International Crimes’ in Alette Smeulers (ed.) Collective Violence and International Criminal Justice. An Interdisciplinary Approach (Intersentia Antwerp 2010) p. 175.


Drumblsupra note 1 p. 26; Smeulers and Grünfeld ibid. p. 205; Smeulers and Holá ibid. p. 203; Stathis N. Kalyvas The Logic of Violence in Civil War (Cambridge University Press New York 2006) p. 56. There is extensive literature on (social-) psychological factors that influence the ability of ordinary people to become perpetrators of international crimes. See for example Albert Bandura ‘Moral Disengagement in the Perpetration of Inhumanities’ 3 Personality and Social Psychology Review 1999 193–209; Frank Neubacher ‘How Can it Happen that Horrendous State Crimes are Perpetrated? An Overview of Criminological Theories’ 4 Journal of International Criminal Justice (2006) 787–799.


Smeulersibid. pp. 177–178. Although in practice there are many factors distinguishing one follower from the other and one leader from another leader it suffices for the purposes of this article to roughly distinguish between leaders and followers. For a more detailed account of theories explaining group behaviour and how this may lead to participation in violence see Henri Tajfel Human groups and Social Categories. Studies in Social Psychology (Cambridge University Press Cambridge 1981); Robert S. Baron and Norbert L. Kerr Group Process Group Decision Group Action (Open University Press Buckingham/Philadelphia 2003); Stanley Milgram Obedience to Authority (Harper and Row New York 1974); or: Herper C. Kelman and V. Lee Hamilton Crimes of Obedience: Toward a Social Psychology of Authority and Responsibility. (Yale University Press New Haven 1989).


Tharcisse Muvunyisupra note 35.


Van Wijksupra note 43 pp. 188–189.


Subotićsupra note 87 p. 50.


Subotićsupra note 87 p. 40.


Raynor and Robinsonsupra note 3 p. 4.


Subotićsupra note 87 pp. 40–41.


Van Kalmthout and Durnescusupra note 3 p. 47. Elaine Genders and Elaine Player ‘Rehabilitation risk management and prisoners’ rights’ 14(4) Criminology and Criminal Justice (2014) 434–457 435–436. or: Tony Ward ‘Human Rights and Dignity in Offender Rehabilitation’ 11 Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice (2011) 112–113.

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