Published: 23 March 2018 at 10:09
Dr Aldo Zammit Borda, Acting Head of Anglia Law School, was an invited guest at the International Criminal Law Conference held in Hague, the seat of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.
Dr Zammit Borda joined judges and lawyers from criminal tribunals across the world, who decide on the guilt or innocence of people, often accused with crimes of mass atrocity. However, these judges are not historians and yet have to make judgements that contain several pages of history.
Dr Zammit Borda said “The question of whether and to what extent international criminal courts should involve themselves with writing history, particularly when there are competing narratives of a conflict, is a difficult one. However, in many cases, when there is no smoking gun, prosecutors and judges in international criminal courts do not have a choice. They need to to write the history of events in order to establish the necessary criminal intent.”
A key theme discussed in a closed conference on 'Political Expediency and International Criminal Tribunals' was whether, and to what extent, international criminal tribunals should involve themselves with writing historical narratives for the conflicts within their jurisdiction. This conference was organised by the Geoffrey Nice Foundation on Law, History, Politics and Society in the context of Mass Atrocities.
Other participants at this Conference were Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who served as deputy prosecutor at the trial of Slobodan Milošević at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Lord Iain Bonomy, a former Senator of the College of Justice and a former Judge of the ICTY, and Dr Nevenka Tromp, the principal researcher in the team prosecuting Slobodan Milošević at the ICTY.