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The Politics of Punishment and the Siege of Sarajevo: Toward a Conflict Theory of Perceived International (In)Justice

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Liberal legalism noncontroversially advocates procedural fairness and due process in institutions such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The visible conflicts come with the ebb and flow of international jurisdictional claims, suspicions of racial/ethnic and cultural biases in deliberations and decisions, prioritization of purposes in sentencing decisions, and the intrusion of institutional and international political debates into the liberal legal agenda. These conflicts threaten to create a legitimacy deficit in diffuse support for the ICTY. We examine these conflicts within the context of two surveys about the ICTY conducted in Sarajevo in 2000 and 2003. The results indicate that the citizens of Sarajevo increasingly believe that the ICTY is politically influenced by internationally appointed judges, peaking with the sentencing of Stanislav Galic for the siege of Sarajevo. This conflict focuses on issues of substantive rather than procedural justice and is increasingly articulated as a rejection of international political intervention that subverts the need for a local sense of justice. This may be a sequence of political conflict and disillusionment that is as inevitable as it is unavoidable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Florida State University 2: American Bar Research Foundation

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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