Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Evaluating the International Criminal Court - ICC

ICC Court at the Hague-Netherlands

Nine years after its launch in July 2002, the International Criminal Court has made a promising though problematic start. Some of its difficulties are constitutional in its mission and context. Others have been generated by states' and officials' behaviour. Carrying out the court's mandate to prosecute the perpetrators of humanity's worst crimes would be difficult even in ideal circumstances. Circumstances are not ideal: The ICC is an international organisation that many important states have not joined; it commands a limited budget; it is subject to the political and personal idiosyncrasies common to international organisation's; and finally, its independence is constrained by states' sovereignty. In short, it faces huge challenges as it struggles to build international legitimacy.

The ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes that take place on the territory of states that have gave in to its founding document, the Rome Statute of 1998, as well as crimes that are committed by citizens of states party to the statute or that take place in conflict situations referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council. For instance the Rwanda case was referred to as “mutual killings” both the Hutus and Tutsi killed each other. Crimes against humanity are issues like murder enslavement,torture,denial of human rights and transfer of a population  by force. War crimes; mistreating prisoners of war, crimes against non-combat or civilians. Crimes of aggression; attacking another state. The ICC is meant to be a venue of last resort when domestic justice systems genuinely fail to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of the crimes over which it has jurisdiction. Although it is formally a legal-judicial institution, its actions can have major political ramifications, and states may seek to use it for political ends. It has no enforcement capacity and depends upon states to apprehend suspects and to permit collection of information on their territories. It has been the target of harsh criticism and ardent support. Adding to the complexity of its mission, in 2010, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute amended the statute to make a fourth crime, the individual crime of aggression, potentially prosecutable in the future.

Anyone either individuals, governments, groups can bring a case before the ICC and all the signatories of the Rome Treaty are expected to accept the jurisdiction of the court, but prosecutions is forbidden for crimes committed before 1st July 2002.

1 comment:

  1. This a good article. I love your scrutiny. Perhaps I would like to invite you to dig deeper and find out the rationale as to why the ICC is accused of targeting Africa and explore on the possibilities of who Ocampo's next successor in office will be-their weaknesses and strengths. Thumbs up.