June 12 2017 | Conference Punishing International Crimes in Domestic Courts

Conference ‘Punishing International Crimes in Domestic Courts’

Register here (registration is open until 23 May 2017). Only a limited number of places is still available.

The international community deems that international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, cannot go unpunished. During the 1990s it significantly stepped up its “fight against impunity” and established numerous international criminal courts and tribunals to prosecute and punish perpetrators of such atrocity crimes committed around the globe. These institutions, however, have been lately subjected to a lot of criticism: trials are extremely slow; fact finding is inaccurate; the number of convictions marginal; victims are disappointed; sentences too lenient, inconsistent, lacking justification or misplaced; and the post-sentencing phase – incarceration and reintegration of those convicted – is haphazard and arbitrary.

Over the past decades, also domestic courts have increasingly prosecuted and punished perpetrators of international crimes. Perpetrators tried and sentenced at domestic courts clearly outnumber those at the international level. Domestic mass atrocity crimes trials, however, have so far attracted only limited attention in international criminal justice discussions and scholarship. In particular, little attention is given to the sentencing and post-sentencing phase in these domestic contexts.

As many have argued, the future of criminal justice for mass atrocity crimes is domestic. This one-day conference in Amsterdam brings together scholars from around the globe to discuss practices and challenges with regard to sentencing, incarceration and reintegration of perpetrators of international crimes in domestic contexts. It will provide a comparative overview of domestic sentencing and incarceration practices regarding atrocity crimes from selected countries across the globe and aims to discuss the following questions: How many individuals were actually prosecuted and sentenced? How severe are sentences for atrocity crimes perpetrators? How do these sentences compare to sentences of ordinary, garden-variety crimes or to sentences handed out by international courts? How is punishment for atrocity crimes justified? Is there a special legal and jurisdictional regime established for such cases? How is punishment executed and what happens to those released after serving their sentences?  How are they reintegrated?

The conference is organised by the Centre for International Criminal Justice (CICJ), VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) and is supported by a VENI research grant from the NWO, NSCR and A-lab. Further details of the affiliated project ‘Vertical (In)consistency of International Sentencing’ are available here.

The programme can be found here.

dr. Barbora Holá

About dr. Barbora Holá

Barbora Holá works as a Senior Researcher at the NSCR and as an Associate Professor at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at VU University of Amsterdam. She has an interdisciplinary focus and studies transitional justice after atrocities, in particular (international) criminal trials, sentencing of international crimes, enforcement of international sentences, rehabilitation of war criminals and life after trial at international criminal tribunals. Besides her research and teaching in the Master’s programme International Crimes and Criminology at VU Amsterdam, Barbora is a co-director of the Center for International Criminal Justice, a knowledge centre dedicated to interdisciplinary studies of mass atrocity crimes and international criminal justice ( and an editor of the e-Newsletter of Criminology and International Crimes. On the international level, Barbora is a member of the Africa-Low Countries Network and a board member of the European Society of Criminology Group on Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice. In 2017, Barbora was one of the four candidates who received the prestigious ‘WISE’ (Women in Science Excel) fellowship from the Dutch Organization for a Scientific Research to develop her research line on empirical studies of international criminal and transitional justice after atrocities.

Link to personal website.

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Bernasco, W; Block, R; Levine, N; Cahill, I

The CrimeStat Discrete Choice Module Journal Article

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