In the wake of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, how to apprehend, question, and punish the perpetrators remains a difficult question to answer. Moreover, the question of where, and how, to try suspects raises a series of deeper questions about the role of criminal accountability in times of conflict and war.
Scholars in the emerging field of transitional justice do not focus on the question of terrorism specifically, however, they study the ways in which societies that are attempting to confront past and lingering mass atrocities do so through a variety of means: criminal trials, truth commissions, civil compensation schemes, lustration programs, and so on. An exploration of how the insights derived from this body of work might be applied to the problem of terrorism in the wake of September 11th would be a fruitful source of further research.
This Essay is an effort to initiate that process by examining an emerging transitional justice mechanism - the mixed domestic-international tribunal - and considering the role such tribunals might play in the fight against terrorism. This brief Essay delineates the recent history of this emerging accountability mechanism, compares hybrid tribunals to international tribunals, on the one hand, and domestic tribunals, on the other, and suggests their possible use in the current climate, in a setting such as post-Taliban Afghanistan.
Laura Dickinson, Transitional Justice in Afghanistan: The Promise of Mixed Tribunals, 31 Denv. J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 23 (2002).