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The United States Role in Transitional Justice for Libya, Iraq, and the Former Yugoslavia

I. Background

During the Cold War, the international community and individual states took steps to formalize the process for holding alleged atrocity perpetrators accountable, yet ultimately failed to do so. Atrocities in the FRY peaked just as the Cold War ended, providing the means, motivation, and opportunity to establish the ICTY.

Other atrocities were also perpetrated around this time. On December 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Two Libyans (also known as the “Lockerbie 2” or “pair”) subsequently were accused of bombing the plane, the passengers of which were mostly American and British nationals.1 Less than two years later, during its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and subsequent occupation of the country through 1991, Iraq allegedly perpetrated atrocities against Kuwaitis. A U.S. Army report concluded that these atrocities were “widespread and systematic.”2 At approximately the same time, the Saddam administration perpetrated atrocities against Kurds in its own country. As this chapter discusses, the USG approach to addressing the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and the 1990-1991 Iraqi offenses against Kuwaitis is intricately intertwined with USG policy on transitional justice for the FRY.

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