Sentencing of International Crimes at the ICTY and ICTR

Barbora Hola


One of the fundamental principles of justice is consistency - like cases should be treated alike. Consistency of sentencing can be approached on several levels – the two fundamental ones being consistency in approach and consistency in outcome. The former refers to a principled way of sentence determination while the latter concerns the actual sentencing outcomes in a sense of numerical comparisons of sentence length across individual cases. This article analyses ‘consistency in approach’ of sentencing at the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (ICTY and ICTR). The conclusions demonstrate that on a general level, a set of sentencing principles is consistently emphasised in the ICTY and ICTR cases. The inconsistencies and disparities across cases are, however, identified with respect to particularities, such as what factors are relevant for the gravity assessment and whether a particular mitigating/aggravating factor indeed aggravates/mitigates the sentence in a particular case. The main problem of the ICTY and ICTR judges’ sentencing reasoning seems to be a lack of transparency and clarity. On the basis of a critical examination of the ICTY and ICTR case law the article offers suggestions on how to develop more transparent and understandable sentencing practices.


International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; consistency; sentencing

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Copyright (c) 2012 Barbora Hola

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