Keywords: International Criminal Justice; Maintenance of International Peace; Reconciliation; Sentencing Factors; Sentencing Rationales; Purposes of Criminal Proceedings.
This article explores the assumption according to which international criminal justice is meant to ensure international peace and security by analysing the sentencing practice of the "ad hoc" tribunals, the Special Court for the Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court. Despite common references to the contribution that international criminal justice may give to the restoration of peace and reconciliation, sentencing practice shows that those broad goals have no legal impact on the determination of international sentences. The connection between the maintenance of peace and international criminal justice that emerges in the discussion of sentencing rationales is a purely indirect one. Independently from the particular sentencing rationale referred to, the relevant case law rests on the premise that the mere fact of punishing the author of international crimes would "per se" contribute to the maintenance of peace. Thus, from a broader perspective trial proceedings can be seen as part of a larger process that as a whole is meant to lead to the maintenance of international peace.