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International criminal tribunals are often criticized for having minimal influence on the states over which they exercise jurisdiction. This article argues that the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has had a far more positive impact on domestic governance in Bosnia & Herzegovina than previously assumed by both the academic and policy communities. The article develops a theoretical model to explain the impact of international criminal tribunals on domestic governance and tests that model against the ICTY¹s influence in Bosnia. More specifically, the article advances the claim that the nature of the tribunal¹s jurisdictional relationship with domestic judicial institutions and the incentives for national and international officials created by that jurisdiction interacted with changing preferences of domestic actors, thereby catalyzing judicial reform and institutional development in Bosnia. Based on an in-depth study of the ICTY¹s interactions with Bosnia from 1994 to 2006, the article presents new empirical evidence of the Tribunal¹s early effect of freezing out the activation of the domestic judiciary in Bosnia and its later role in the establishment of the new State Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina with war crimes jurisdiction The article attributes the variance in the Tribunal¹s influence over time in large part to changes in its jurisdictional relationship with national courts brought about by the ICTY¹s Completion Strategy and suggests the significance of a tribunal¹s institutional design, and particularly its jurisdictional relationship, for the direction and intensity of its influence on domestic institutional development.


International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Bosnia & Herzegovina, International Criminal Tribunals, International Criminal Court, Complementarity, Norm Leadership, Rules of the Road Program, Domestic courts, Office of the High Representative, Domestic judicial reform, Jurisdiction, Multilevel global governance, State court of Bosnia & Herzegovina

Publication Title

Columbia Journal of Transnational Law

Publication Citation

46 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 279 (2008)