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Sujith Xavier

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Sri Lanka; transitional justice; international criminal law


I use the United Nations Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka’s recommendation to create an international mechanism and recent demands for justice as a springboard to argue that the creation of a new ad hoc international or hybrid criminal tribunal for Sri Lanka may not produce the expected results of prosecuting those responsible for mass human rights violations. I argue that such an initiative will not heal the ruptures and cleavages among the different ethnic communities in Sri Lanka. By teasing out the political nature of international criminal law and the embedded nature of the history of international law, this chapter suggests that the creation of an international institution may not bring to justice the divergent perpetrators of war crimes. Rather, the politics of international institutions and the history of international law may allow for ‘regulatory capture’ and the continuing rise of international experts as seen through the illustrative history of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.