GoJIL Vol. 6, No. 2 (2014)
Determining the Relationship Between International and Domestic Laws Within an Internationalized Court: An Example From the Cambodian Extraordinary Chambers’ Jurisdiction Over International and Domestic Crimes
Internationalized criminal tribunals such as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) differ from traditional international criminal tribunals by a lesser degree of internationality. The ECCC emerged through an international agreement but their mixed composition and operating rules are also defined in Cambodian Law. The relationship between the ECCC’s Agreement and Law has not been clearly stated, which generates questions since both texts are not always consistent. This paper proposes, through the study of the provisions of the ECCC Law relating to the ECCC’s subject-matter jurisdiction, to determine the impact of such discrepancies on the activity of the Chambers. The decisions of their judicial bodies on the application of Articles 3, 4 and 5 which provide for the ECCC’s jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, genocide and certain domestic crimes have allowed to cope with the uncertainty generated by those differences. However, a bigger issue remains which is due to the ECCC’s particular hybrid structure. Composed of national judges in the majority, ECCC’s decisions may only be taken if the required qualified majority is reached, which implies the need for an agreement with their international counterparts.
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