The use of ‘hybrid’ tribunals as a means to secure accountability for international crimes seeks to combine national ownership over the trials whilst providing a framework for the inclusion of international standards and personnel in the proceedings. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) represents one such hybrid experiment. Yet the ECCC has faced recurring allegations of political interference. These allegations are substantial and even if not always verifiable at least create an appearance of impropriety. The failure of the ECCC and United Nations to adequately address these allegations derived from a hybrid model that failed to provide sufficient safeguards against interference. The international community agreed on a solution to secure accountability with awareness that the trials were likely to be politically tainted. As such, the experiment in Cambodia provides a cautionary tale for the future design of hybrid tribunals.
The scope and effect of the Head of State immunity doctrine before the International Criminal Court has prompted much discussion following the 2011 decision of the first Pre-Trial Chamber concerning the immunity of serving Sudanese President, Omar Al Bashir. The ptcI held that, as a matter of customary international law, there existed an exception to Head of State immunity where such official is sought by an international court with jurisdiction, here the icc. In an apparent retreat, a differently constituted ptc in 2014 based the inapplicability of such immunity on the terms of Security Council Resolution 1593. Using the 2011 and 2014 ptc decisions as a critical lens, and drawing upon recent material, this article assesses the proper application of Head of State immunity under Article 98(1) of the Rome Statute.
The doctrine of Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE), which imposes individual criminal responsibility on an accused for their participation in a group's common criminal plan, rose to prominence in the ICTY Appeal Chamber decision, Prosecutor v. Tadić. Since Tadić, there has been a general reluctance by international ad hoc tribunals to review the legal foundation of JCE. However, on 20 May 2010, the ECCC Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) considered the applicability of JCE to the atrocities which occurred in Cambodia during 1975-1979 - the period within the tribunal's temporal jurisdiction. The PTC has, unlike any other ad hoc tribunal to date, subjected the reasoning in Tadić to close scrutiny. This article will analyse the PTC's decision. In squarely contradicting Tadić on the expanded form of JCE, its findings are to be welcomed. The PTC's decision should be upheld on appeal in order to uphold the principle of legality; to safeguard the continued respect, credibility and future legacy of the ECCC trial process.