Prudent Politics: The International Criminal Court, International Relations, and Prosecutorial Independence


I contend that the political environment affects international prosecutors’ professional decisions. Admittedly, it is difficult for me to provide irrefutable proof of that claim—unless a former prosecutor of the ICTY, ICTR, ICC, or other internationalized criminal court improbably publishes a memoir in which he or she acknowledges that political considerations played an important role in the exercise of his or her prosecutorial functions. I will nevertheless seek to offer some examples of cases in which international criminal courts appeared to have acted, at least in part, on the basis of political considerations in carrying out their work. But beyond the claim that prosecutors do take politics into account, my stronger claim is that prosecutors should take politics into account. They should do so, though, in reflective, deliberative ways, not in the reactive and counterproductive ways we have at times witnessed in at least a few cases.


politics, prosecutors, ICTY, ICTR, ICC, international criminal court, international relations



Allen S. Weiner (Stanford Law School)



Publication details



All rights reserved

File Checksums (MD5)

  • pdf: 4da614094f80b2fba014749cf6320fd3