Improving Hybrid Tribunal Design: Domestic Factors, International Support, and Court Characteristics


  • Paul W. Bennetch
  • Matthew R. Sellers
  • Sean C. McGuire
Publish Date:
October 1, 2015
  • Paul W. Bennetch, Matthew R. Sellers and Sean C. McGuire, Improving Hybrid Tribunal Design: Domestic Factors, International Support, and Court Characteristics, Stanford Law School: Law and Policy Lab (October 2015).
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This paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of hybrid tribunals as a mechanism for administering justice in post-conflict societies. International cooperation in the prosecution of war criminals can help a state rebuild its domestic legal infrastructure, strengthen the rule of law, and ensure transparency and due process in judicial proceedings. However, these tribunals require adequate human resources, staffing, funds, and expertise, along with adequate detention and trial facilities, all of which are difficult to acquire. After discussing these difficulties, this paper compares the different types of tribunals that have been established and identifies best practices and lessons learned from each. The paper then analyzes the different legal factors that must be considered when establishing a hybrid tribunal: the choice and extent of its jurisdiction, the rules of procedure it will follow, and the substantive law that will be applied, all of which are difficult choices in a multinational environment where the judge, lawyers, defendants, and witnesses may come from different legal backgrounds. The paper then discusses choices in structure and staffing, and closes with preliminary conclusions regarding the effective establishment of hybrid tribunals for criminal prosecutions in the future.