The Enforcement of Arrest Warrants by International Forces: From the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to the International Criminal Court


The conflict in the former Yugoslavia set a precedent in modern history for having a multinational military force being empowered and directed to execute arrest warrants issued by an international criminal tribunal. On legal grounds, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) attained this result by relying on the broad wording of its governing Statute coupled with the ICTY’s own rule-making powers. In contrast, the drafters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute elaborated on the nature of the cooperation from international forces in significantly more details but at the same time opted for reducing the ICC’s powers vis-à-vis these forces. Therefore, the ICC Statute now runs contrary to the ICTY’s case law recognizing a judicial power to order an international force to execute an ICTY arrest warrant. This deferential stance towards collective enterprises of states not only infringes upon the States Parties’ general obligation to cooperate with the ICC, but, in the end, weakens the ICC’s ability to enforce international criminal justice.

This content has been updated on 4 July 2017 at 18 h 19 min.