Judge Theodor Meron Discusses International Criminal Tribunals at the Law School

Judge Theodor Meron (left), president of the U.N. Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, in a discussion with Professor Lori Damrosch on March 9 at the Law School. On March 9, Judge Theodor Meron, president of the U.N. Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), spoke to Columbia Law School students about the critical challenges facing the rule of law and international criminal tribunals. In a discussion with Lori Damrosch, the Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, hosted by the Law School’s Human Rights Institute, Meron said that tribunals, such as the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (ICTY and ICTR), have played a pivotal role over the last quarter century in the new field of international criminal law.

The future, however, now seems less certain, especially as the international community questions the efficacy and costs of such tribunals. “I think that we are in many ways at a crossroads in this area of international criminal justice,” Meron told his audience.

Despite the challenges, Meron struck an optimistic tone, arguing that justice may be found in a variety of mechanisms—including carefully established hybrid tribunals—and emphasizing the importance of encouraging nation-states to play a larger role. Most importantly, he stated, “accountability must prevail.”

Meron has served on the Appeals Chambers of both the ICTY and the ICTR. He is a leading scholar of international humanitarian law, human rights, and international criminal law, and has contributed enormously to the academia informing his field. For more insight, Meron’s article “On Being an International Criminal Judge” provides an in-depth examination of his views on serving as an international judge.

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Posted on April 24, 2017

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