Are International Criminal Tribunals a Waste of Money?
The journal Foreign Policy has an interesting post on the cost of international criminal tribunals. I have to admit I had no idea they were so expensive. According to the article, “As of November 2005, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had handed down judgments for only 25 individuals. More than $1 billion has been spent on the tribunal so far, or about $40 million per judgment.” For all my complaining about the ICJ’s slowness, at least they aren’t profligate with the relatively little money they do have.
You might say that ensuring punishment and the end to impunity is worth the $1 billion, but there is some point when even the end to impunity isn’t worth it. Or, more accurately, justice is not actually being achieved if the cost is so high. There are cheaper alternatives, by the way. Rwanda could itself punish the perpetrators or, as the ICTR has started to do, the ICTR could outsource to other countries (as it has started doing)
Seth Weinberger at “Security Dilemmas” weighs in with more typically intelligent analysis here.