Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2020

Publication Title

Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems


female judges, international criminal tribunals, gender diversity, criminal justice


This Article analyzes the presence of female judges within international criminal tribunals, starting with the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals in the 1990s. In particular, the Article discusses specific numbers of female judges at the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the newly created Kosovo Specialist Chambers, and the International Criminal Court.

While the presence of women as prosecutors, defense attorneys, victim representatives, and other professionals at these tribunals is equally important, this Article focuses on the number of female judges, as such data is more readily available and as judges presumably occupy the most important role within an international criminal tribunal. The Article discusses whether the lack of meaningful gender diversity on the international criminal bench has negatively affected the delivery of international criminal justice and concludes that the absence of appropriate gender diversity on the international criminal bench affects the legitimacy of these tribunals as well as their ability to adequately investigate and prosecute all crimes, gender-based violence in particular.