The International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda establish the beginning of a new pattern in the genuine international implementation of international criminal law and the move back to the international model inaugurated at Nuremberg. But even these tribunals were first and foremost, the by-products of international realpolitik. They were born out of a political desire to redeem the international community’s conscience rather than the primary commitment of the international community to guarantee international justice. In the early stages, there was a persistent lack of political will by Member States to act, or to act with enough assertiveness with regard to the conflicts, notwithstanding the exposition of deliberate and systematic patterns of massive violations of human rights. The Yugoslav and Rwanda Tribunals were not established because of the United Nations, or the powerful States that control it. They were not established because of an intrinsic value on punishing war criminals or upholding the rule of law. Rather, the mobilisation of shame by non-governmental organisations and especially the grisly pictures beamed to the world by the television camera created a public relations nightmare and made liars of the centres of Western civilisation.
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