Binding force of legal determinations by other Tribunals

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 30.01.2015 POPOVIĆ et al.
(IT-05-88-A)

464. […] [N]either the Report of the Darfur Commission nor the ICC jurisprudence […] is binding on this Tribunal.[1] There was no obligation on the Trial Chamber to explicitly consider these authorities, which are at best persuasive. […]

[1]           Cf. \orđević Appeal Judgement, para. 83, referring to Čelebići Appeal Judgement, para. 24.

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Rule 98bis Judgement - 11.07.2013 KARADŽIĆ Radovan
(IT-95-5/18-AR98bis.1)

94. As an initial matter, the Appeals Chamber observes that the parties have relied upon factual findings and evidentiary assessments by other chambers at this Tribunal and by the ICJ in support of their arguments.[1] The Appeals Chamber recalls that it is bound neither by the legal determinations nor by the evidentiary assessments reached by trial chambers of this Tribunal or by the ICJ.[2] In this latter respect, the Appeals Chamber underscores that findings of criminal responsibility made in a case before the Tribunal are binding only for the individual accused in that specific case.[3] The Appeals Chamber accordingly declines to address these submissions further.

[1] See Appeal Brief [Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadžić, Case No. IT-95-5/18-AR98bis.1, Prosecution Rule 98bis Appeal Brief, 24 September 2012 (confidential). A public redacted version was filed on 25 September 2012], para. 84; Response [Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadžić, Case No. IT-95-5/18-AR98bis.1, Respondent’s Brief, 5 November 2012 (confidential). An initial public redated version was filed on 5 November 2012, and a revised public redacted version was filed on 26 November 2012], paras 40-211.

[2] See, e.g., Čelebići Appeal Judgement, para. 24. Cf. Aleksovski Appeal Judgement, para. 114.

[3] Prosecutor v. Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač, Case No. IT-06-90-A, Decision on Motion to Intervene and Statement of Interest by the Republic of Croatia, 8 February 2012, para. 12.

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Appeal Judgement - 20.02.2001 DELALIĆ et al. (Čelebići)
(IT-96-21-A)

24. [T]his Tribunal is an autonomous international judicial body, and although the ICJ is the “principal judicial organ”[1] within the United Nations system to which the Tribunal belongs, there is no hierarchical relationship between the two courts. Although the Appeals Chamber will necessarily take into consideration other decisions of international courts, it may, after careful consideration, come to a different conclusion.

[1]    Charter of the United Nations, Article 92.

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Decision on Interlocutory Appeal - 25.05.2001 KVOČKA et al.
(IT-98-30/1-AR73.5)

The Appeals Chamber cited the consideration in paragraph 24 of the ^elebi}i Appeal Judgement of whether the International Tribunal should follow a decision issued by the International Court of Justice on a question of law (para. 16). It determined that there was no reason to depart from these conclusions. It further held:

17. […] No legal basis exists for suggesting that the International Tribunal must defer to the International Court of Justice such that the former would be legally bound by decisions of the latter.

18. Nonetheless, decisions of the International Court of Justice addressing general questions of international law are of the utmost significance and the International Tribunal will consider such decisions, giving due weight to their authority. However, the International Tribunal has its own competence. Thus, the International Tribunal would consider any decisions of the International Court of Justice, subject to its competence to make its own findings. As a result the International Tribunal may arrive at different conclusions, and differences in holdings may occur. This does not justify suspension of the present proceedings until the International Court of Justice has decided any matters pending before that Court.

22. Finally, the Appeals Chamber considers that it is not necessary for it to await the rendering of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice or the issuing of a decision by the General Assembly of the United Nations before it decides on any legal or factual questions, even if these happen to be the same as questions raised in any pending case before the International Court of Justice. 

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Appeal Judgement - 30.06.2016 STANIŠIĆ & ŽUPLJANIN
(IT-08-91-A)

598. […] [T]he Appeals Chamber recalls that it is not bound by the findings of other courts – domestic, international, or hybrid – and that, even though it will consider such jurisprudence, it may nonetheless come to a different conclusion on a matter than that reached by another judicial body.[1] The Appeals Chamber considers that in order to constitute a cogent reason for departing from its established jurisprudence on a matter, the party advocating a departure would need to show that a non‑binding opinion of another court is the correct law and demonstrate that there is a clear mistake in the Appeals Chamber’s approach.[2] […]

[1] Đorđević Appeal Judgement, para. 83, referring to Čelebići Appeal Judgement, para. 24. See Tolimir Appeal Judgement, para. 226; Popović et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 1674.

[2] See Popović et al Appeal Judgement, para. 1674, referring to Đorđević Appeal Judgement, para. 24, Aleksovski Appeal Judgement, para. 108.

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