The project empirically investigates penal purposes and conditions under which sentences imposed by the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) are enforced in different European prison systems. The analysis explores how such enforcement practice influences the legitimacy of international criminal punishments and how it impacts the overarching goals of international criminal justice, such as reconciliation and maintenance of peace.

The pro­ject re­pres­ents a si­gni­fi­cant con­tri­bu­ti­on to the cur­ri­cu­lum of the In­ter­na­tio­nal Max Planck Re­se­arch School on Re­ta­lia­ti­on, Me­dia­ti­on and Pu­nis­h­ment (IM­PRS RE­MEP) on the use of pu­nis­h­ment as an in­stru­ment of so­ci­al con­trol and go­ver­nance of se­cu­ri­ty on su­pra­na­tio­nal and na­tio­nal le­vels. It al­so pro­vi­des one of the first com­pre­hen­si­ve in­ter­dis­ci­pli­na­ry stu­dies on the en­for­ce­ment of in­ter­na­tio­nal sen­tences, fil­ling the exis­ting re­se­arch gap and pro­vi­ding va­lua­ble facts as well as re­com­men­da­ti­ons for fur­ther de­ve­lop­ment of law and prac­ti­ce in this im­port­ant area of ju­sti­ce.

The IC­TY (In­ter­na­tio­nal Cri­mi­nal Tri­bu­nal for the For­mer Yu­go­sla­via) has pro­found­ly in­flu­enced the de­ve­lop­ment of penal re­ac­ti­on to in­ter­na­tio­nal cri­mes du­ring mo­re than 20 years of its exis­tence. Be­si­des pro­vi­ding a much-nee­ded mo­men­tum for pro­se­cu­ti­on and ad­ju­di­ca­ti­on of in­ter­na­tio­nal cri­mes, the Tri­bu­nal al­so esta­blis­hed a sys­tem for en­for­ce­ment of sen­tences whe­re, in the ab­sence of of­fi­ci­al in­ter­na­tio­nal pri­son fa­ci­li­ties, con­vic­ted per­sons are being trans­fe­red to na­tio­nal pri­sons in tho­se Eu­ro­pean states that en­te­red in­to spe­ci­al agree­ment for that pur­po­se with the Tri­bu­nal, to ser­ve their sen­tences the­re. No­ne of the states of the for­mer Yu­go­sla­via are al­lo­wed to en­for­ce the IC­TY sen­tences.

The na­ture of such an en­for­ce­ment sys­tem begs ques­ti­ons which chal­len­ge the le­gi­ti­ma­cy of in­ter­na­tio­nal pu­nis­h­ment as an ac­cep­ted in­stru­ment of so­ci­al con­trol. First, the re­se­arch eva­lua­tes the ade­qua­cy of na­tio­nal pri­son sys­tems, in terms of con­di­ti­ons, re­gi­mes and pro­grams, to pur­po­se­se­ful­ly ad­dress the dis­tinc­ti­ve na­ture of cri­mi­na­li­ty which dif­fe­ren­tia­tes most of in­ter­na­tio­nal pri­so­ners from or­di­na­ry pri­son po­pu­la­ti­on. Se­cond, con­si­de­ring the al­lo­ca­ti­on of in­ter­na­tio­nal pri­so­ners to va­rious Eu­ro­pean states, the re­se­arch mea­su­res the le­vel of stan­dar­di­za­ti­on of such en­for­ce­ment, a key fac­tor for the over­all per­cep­ti­on of the le­gi­ti­ma­cy of IC­TY sen­tences. Con­se­quent­ly, the re­se­arch eva­lua­tes to what ex­tent the en­for­ce­ment and its out­co­me pur­po­se­ful­ly con­tri­bu­te to the over­ar­ching goals of in­ter­na­tio­nal cri­mi­nal ju­sti­ce, such as re­sto­ra­ti­on and main­te­nance of pe­ace bet­ween con­flic­ting par­ties.

The em­pi­ri­cal in­qui­ry is groun­ded in qua­li­ta­ti­ve me­tho­do­lo­gy; i.e. qua­li­ta­ti­ve con­tent ana­ly­sis of ca­se fi­les and me­dia re­ports and se­mi-struc­tu­red in­ter­views with both IC­TY pri­so­ners and ex-pri­so­ners, na­tio­nal pri­son staff in en­for­cing states and IC­TY/MICT of­fi­ci­als.

Fin­dings of the pro­ject in­di­ca­te that so­me of the is­su­es re­la­ting to the im­po­si­ti­on of the IC­TY sen­tences are al­so pre­sent wi­thin the me­cha­nism of their en­for­ce­ment. Pe­no­lo­gi­cal fra­me­work is par­ti­cu­lar­ly un­der­de­ve­lo­ped with re­gard to sub­stan­ti­al re­flec­ti­on on the pur­po­ses of im­pri­son­ment and me­thods to achie­ve them (i.e. re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on of per­pe­tra­tors of in­ter­na­tio­nal cri­mes). This re­sul­ted in an am­bi­guous set of ru­les which in prac­ti­ce can lead to dis­cretio­na­ry de­ci­si­ons, po­li­ti­ci­za­ti­on and in­e­qua­li­ty in the pri­son treat­ment of in­ter­na­tio­nal of­fen­ders. Pri­so­ners seem to be ran­dom­ly al­lo­ca­ted to an en­for­ce­ment state, whe­re they are mi­xed with with or­di­na­ry pri­so­ners and sub­ject to ge­ne­ral (if any) re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on pro­grams, the ef­fect of which in ma­ny ca­ses is rat­her du­bious. Af­ter­wards, they are usual­ly re­lea­sed pri­or to ser­ving their full term in pri­son, most­ly ba­sed on good be­ha­vi­or and see­min­gly wi­thout any sort of for­mal su­per­vi­si­on which in prac­ti­ce amounts to de fac­to com­mu­ta­ti­on of their pu­nis­h­ment. When this is al­so sup­ple­men­ted by a grand re­cep­ti­on and de­di­ca­ti­on of high ho­nors upon re­turn to their ho­me states, the over­all me­cha­nism could be seen to grea­tly de­tract from the re­con­ci­lia­to­ry ef­forts of the con­flic­ting par­ties. This is cer­tain­ly an un­wan­ted out­co­me, sin­ce 'the con­tri­bu­ti­on to re­sto­ra­ti­on and main­te­nance of pe­ace' is pre­ci­se­ly one of the most im­port­ant prin­cip­les un­der which the IC­TY ope­ra­tes. Ad­di­tio­nal­ly, the en­for­ce­ment prac­ti­ce shows a lack of re­gu­la­to­ry uni­for­mi­ty and a non-trans­pa­rent at­tri­bu­ti­on or de­ni­al of pri­vi­le­ges and pre­ro­ga­ti­ves to in­ter­na­tio­nal pri­so­ners, which can in fact al­so lead to a si­gni­fi­cant ag­gra­va­ti­on of en­for­ce­ment of their sen­tences.

Fur­ther rea­ding:

  • Vo­jta, F. (2018). Pu­nis­h­ment and Sen­tence En­for­ce­ment for Se­rious Vio­la­ti­ons of In­ter­na­tio­nal Hu­ma­ni­ta­ri­an Law Com­mit­ted in the For­mer Yu­go­sla­via (PhD The­sis). Al­bert-Lud­wigs-Uni­ver­si­tät, Frei­burg i. Br.
  • Vo­jta, F. (2018). En­for­ce­ment of In­ter­na­tio­nal Sen­tences in Light of the ICC De­ci­si­on in Lu­ban­ga and Ka­tan­ga Ca­ses. Free­dom From Fe­ar Ma­ga­zi­ne, (14), 29–35.
  • Vo­jta, F. (2014). Pu­nis­h­ment and Sen­tence En­for­ce­ment for Se­rious Vio­la­ti­ons of In­ter­na­tio­nal Hu­ma­ni­ta­ri­an Law Com­mit­ted in the For­mer Yu­go­sla­via. In A.-M. Ge­toš Ka­lac, H.-J. Al­brecht, & M. Kilch­ling, Map­ping the Cri­mi­no­lo­gi­cal Lands­ca­pe of the Bal­kans: A Sur­vey on Cri­mi­no­lo­gy and Cri­me with an Ex­pe­di­ti­on in­to the Cri­mi­nal Lands­ca­pe of the Bal­kans (pp. 401–428) Schrif­ten­rei­he des Max-Planck-In­sti­tuts für aus­län­di­sches und in­ter­na­tio­na­les Straf­recht : Pu­bli­ca­ti­ons of the Max Planck Part­ner Group for Bal­kan Cri­mi­no­lo­gy. Ber­lin: Dun­cker & Hum­blot.
  • Vo­jta, F. (2014). So­me Ob­ser­va­ti­ons on the En­for­ce­ment of In­ter­na­tio­nal Sen­tences in the Ca­se of the IC­TY. Spe­ci­al In­ter­na­tio­nal Is­sue, 32–33.

Research-School: Research on Retaliation, Mediation and Punishment