International Criminal Tribunals in the Shadow of Strasbourg and Politics of Cross-fertilisation

in Nordic Journal of International Law
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


This article takes a critical view on the debates around the phenomenon of jurisprudential cross-fertilisation between international criminal tribunals and human rights courts, in particular the European Court of Human Rights. Asymmetries of cross-citation and influence along this axis of cross-judicial communication can be explained by distinct judicial styles and uneven mutual relevance, rather than by any sort of hierarchy. However, the discourse surrounding the tribunal-oriented ‘cross-fertilisation’ has a normative pull that introduces an informal hierarchy, which is a means to ensure the tribunals’ conformity with human rights law. However valid its agenda may be, this approach is legally groundless and incompatible with the terms of transjudicial communication and it underestimates the pluralist nature of international human rights, among other discontents. Ultimately, it is also ineffective in serving its main ideological purpose.

International Criminal Tribunals in the Shadow of Strasbourg and Politics of Cross-fertilisation

in Nordic Journal of International Law



  • 7

    Cassesesupra note 1 pp. 25–26 and 49; Møse supra note 1 pp. 207–208; T. Meron ‘Human Rights Standards in the Jurisprudence of International Criminal Courts and Tribunals’ speech delivered on 25 January 2013 at the Opening of the Judicial Year European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg France> visited on 6 June 2015 p. 7 ("the leading authority and invaluable guidance of this Court’s extensive jurisprudence addressing fair-trial guarantees").

  • 9

    Ebobrahsupra note 3 p. 246.

  • 12

    Ebobrahsupra note 3 p. 232.

  • 14

    Romanosupra note 4 p. 783.

  • 15

    Ebobrahsupra note 3 p. 246.

  • 17

    Romanosupra note 4 p. 759 ("the emerging ‘international judicial system’ is not symmetrical and decentralised"); Voeten supra note 13 p. 549 (noting "large asymmetries" in this regard "contrary to the hypothesis that transjudicial communication is driven by reciprocity principles").

  • 18

    Voetensupra note 13 p. 550.

  • 23

    Ebobrahsupra note 3 p. 245; Voeten supra note 13 pp. 555–556.

  • 25

    Romanosupra note 4 p. 759 ("dialogue dynamics both reveal and shape hierarchies" and "the emerging international judicial network is hierarchically structured").

  • 27

    Slaughtersupra note 4 pp. 192–194; Romano supra note 4 pp. 756–757.

  • 29

    Romanosupra note 4 pp. 756–757 (speaking of courts’ "strategic cooperation and mutual assistance to extend their own power and authority"); Y. Shany ‘No Longer a Weaker Department of Power? Reflections on the Emergence of a New International Judiciary’ 20:1 European Journal of International Law (2009) pp. 73 76 and 81 (on ‘norm-advancement’ and regime maintenance as functions of international judiciary over and above dispute-settlement).

  • 30

    Shanysupra note 29 p. 83. Cf. R. Teitel and R. Howse ‘Cross-Judging: Tribunalization in a Fragmented but Interconnected Global Order’ 41:4 nyu Journal of International Law and Politics (2009) pp. 959–961 ("de-politicization hypothesis … much too simplistic").

  • 32

    Voetensupra note 13 p. 548; C. Pitea ‘Interpreting the echr in the Light of "Other" International Instruments: Systemic Integration or Fragmentation of Rules on Treaty Interpretation?’ in N. Boschiero et al. (eds.) International Courts and the Development of International Law (T.M.C. Asser The Hague 2013) p. 557: "The extensive cross-fertilization among different human rights regimes testifies to the support given by the Court to the relevance of systemic integration in treaty interpretation’’.

  • 34

    Cançado Trindadesupra note 33 p. 312.

  • 39

    Voetensupra note 13 pp. 549 and 557 (giving an estimate of 10000 judgments rendered over a 50-year period); Ebobrah supra note 3 p. 247 (compliance with ecthr judgments can also be explained by political stability in member states).

  • 52

    Cassesesupra note 1 pp. 21–24 and 50 (critical of the ad hoc tribunals’ ‘wild approach’ to external precedent).

  • 62

    Cassesesupra note 1 pp. 21–22 and 38–43.

  • 66

    Bennounasupra note 63 p. 288.

  • 67

    Slaughter‘A Typology’supra note 26 p. 102.

  • 68

    Shanysupra note 29 p. 87.

  • 73

    Ebobrahsupra note 3 p. 246.

  • 74

    Voetensupra note 13 p. 550.

  • 77

    Mégretsupra note 75 pp. 70–72 (describing ihrl as "a decentralized disorderly and internally diverse process" and "a branch of law deeply dependent on legally plural forms that sit in uneasy tension with international human rights unifying thrust").

  • 81

    Mégretsupra note 75 p. 79.

  • 83

    Ebobrahsupra note 3 p. 231.

  • 90

    Mégretsupra note 75 p. 72: "over-broad excessively functionalizing and potentially hegemonic claims made on behalf of international human rights".

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 31 31 3
Full Text Views 219 219 1
PDF Downloads 12 12 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0