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Legal and Procedural Issues

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One of the issues created by the multiplication of international judicial fora is the fragmentation of international law (both procedural and substantial) in self-contained regimes. The work of each judicial body is regulated by a specific set of statutes and rules of procedure, which, in most cases, have been negotiated ad hoc, and bear little resemblance to one another. Yet, despite the great diversity characterizing the basic documents of many international judicial bodies, often they also have common elements and approaches.

To date, diversities and similarities in the law and procedure of international judicial bodies have attracted relatively little attention, as scholars tend to specialize in one or a set of courts dealing with similar subject-matters. A comprehensive and holistic research of international judicial bodies as a whole could, indeed, yield cross fertilization between courts of best laws and practices.

Examples of issues that, if approached with a cross-court, comparative, approach could provide useful insight are the treatment of different types of evidence by international courts and tribunals. Standards of evidence and burdens of proof currently vary remarkably from court to court, and even among the family of international criminal courts.

The question of the actual implementation of judgments and orders of international judicial bodies by other international bodies, as well as national authorities (including the executive and the judiciary) are yet more examples of where practices and results vary greatly from case to case. The same can be said about remedies given by international judicial bodies, and the question of the reparation awards.

Finally, in their day-to-day work, international judicial bodies face practical problems (such as the question of privileges and immunities, or even the organization of translation services) which, if best-practices were exchanged, could be alleviated to the benefit of the whole international judiciary.

In the field of the Legal and Procedural issues of international courts and tribunals, PICT has been active in promoting dialogue amongst the various international judicial bodies and research on critical issues.