|Abstract: ||Since the end of the cold war, policy leaders have struggled to develop a functioning model of international criminal justice to deal with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in post-conflict societies. A number of initiatives have been attempted – ad-hoc tribunals, truth commissions and special national courts – but all face the same problem, rigid jurisdiction over definitions of crimes and a lack of perceived legitimacy in the process, whether it is the absence of local ownership in international proceedings, or the need for international human rights and legal standards in national commissions. However, the recent use of a new form of accountability, mixed international-national tribunals or hybrid courts, hopes to resolve this legitimacy challenge in order to provide local populations with accountability, aid in national reconciliation efforts, and most importantly foster local capacity-building.
Based on past failures of purely national and international justice mechanism, along with an exploration of the hybrid tribunals in East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Lebanon, this paper will suggest a set of criteria for hybrid tribunals that have the potential to encourage capacity-building on three inter-related levels, individual, institutional and social. Hybrid courts can offer unique advantages over purely national or international initiatives. If policy makers can incorporate the lessons learned and best practices from past experiences with national and international judicial mechanisms, along with the necessary capacity-building criteria, this may help to leave a lasting legacy by developing norms criminalizing human rights violations and mass atrocities, encouraging accountability for past crimes, and assisting with national reconciliation efforts in post-conflict societies|