An Appraisal Of International Crimes And The Operations Of The International Criminal Court
The traditional focus of International Law has been upon the rights and obligations of states while International Criminal Law regulates the conduct of individuals and also punishes those who commit heinous and barbaric crimes against others. The most prevalent of these crimes include genocide, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity.After the end of World War II, the Allies tried Nazi leaders responsible for the massacre to demonstrate that such would not be permitted in future. In the absence of a permanent criminal court, ad hoc tribunals were established. Unfortunately, in the succeeding years, the world sustained atrocities without having recourse to any permanent global mechanism for the prevention and punishment of such crimes.Consequently, a treaty establishing the International Criminal Court was adopted in Rome on July 17, 1998 at the Rome Conference. The court came into being on 1 July, 2002 as that was the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute entered into force and it can only prosecute crimes committed after that date.Despite the courts various achievements, it still faces some challenges. These include the refusal of the United States to ratify its treaty, the non-cooperation of states that are not parties, lack of universal ratification of the Rome Statute and a host of others. In spite of all these, the International Criminal Court promises a lot because it seeks to deter other war criminals from committing inhumane crimes against others. The court is widely acknowledged as the missing link in the international legal system.On the whole, this long essay seeks to examine the International Criminal Court, tracing its evolution from the post-World War II era to the establishment of International Criminal Tribunals. The Courts achievements and also the challenges undermining its successes will be discussed.
Table of Content
TABLE OF CASES
TABLE OF STATUTES
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
1.1.0: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.2.0: OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
1.3.0: FOCUS OF STUDY
1.4.0: SCOPE OF STUDY
1.6.0: LITERATURE REVIEW
1.7.0: DEFINITION OF TERMS
AN EXAMINATION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMES AND INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS
2.1.0: INTERNATIONAL CRIMES
2.2.0: EVOLUTION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS
188.8.131.52: INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL (IMT)
184.108.40.206: INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL FOR THE FAR EAST (IMTFE)
220.127.116.11: INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA (ICTY)
18.104.22.168: INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA (ICTR)
22.214.171.124: SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE
126.96.36.199: SPECIAL TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON
AN OVERVIEW OF THE OPERATIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
3.1.0: THE ROME STATUTE
3.2.0: JURISDICTION OF THE COURT
188.8.131.52: TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION
184.108.40.206: TEMPORAL JURISDICTION
220.127.116.11: THE PRESIDENCY
18.104.22.168: JUDICIAL DIVISIONS
22.214.171.124: OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR
126.96.36.199: THE REGISTRY
3.5.0: PROCEDURES OF THE COURT
188.8.131.52: RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED
184.108.40.206: PARTICIPATION OF VICTIMS
220.127.116.11: REPARATION FOR VICTIMS
3.6.0: CO-OPERATION BY STATES THAT ARE NOT PARTIES TO ROME STATUTE
3.7.0: INVESTIGATIONS BY THE COURT
18.104.22.168.: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
22.214.171.124: CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
3.8.0: THE COURT AND THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LAW
3.9.0: DOMESTICATION OF ROME STATUTE IN NIGERIA
3.10.0: THE COURTS CONTRIBUTION TO INTERNATIONAL LAW
ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES OF THE COURT
ARTICLES IN JOURNALS
ARTICLES ON THE INTERNET
International Humanitarian Law took its modern form after World War II in a bid to prevent a repeat of the horrors that took place in the trenches and concentration camps. A lot of cruel, horrendous and barbaric crimes were committed in the course of the war as the hostages were treated inhumanely by their captors. The whole world was in chaos because of the war between the Eastern and the Western blocs. The resultant effect was the extermination and killing of the citizenry massively. Many people were unfortunate to have been victims of genocide, war crimes, war against peace and crimes against humanity on a large scale.
It is instructive to note that these criminal acts did not go unpunished because International Law has mechanisms in place for the prosecution and punishment of offenders whenever international humanitarian law is violated. As a result of this, at the end of the war, the United Nations General Assembly and the victorious Allied Powers i.e. United States of America, France, Britain and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics set up ad hoc tribunals for the purpose of investigating, prosecuting and punishing the guilty war criminals to serve as deterrence to others. This was done to prevent other would-be criminals from carrying out their cruel, debasing, dehumanising and undignifying acts. The tribunals were located in the countries where the barbaric acts were committed and due to their ad hoc nature, they were disbanded after their mission had been completed.
The tribunals include the Nuremberg tribunal, Tokyo tribunal, Special Court for Sierra Leone, Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Yugoslavia Tribunal. The tribunals laid down the precedent that superior orders will not be a defence to criminal liability. Therefore, anybody alleged to have committed international crimes cannot say he acted against his own will but will be held solely responsible for his actions.
The tribunals were a watershed in International Criminal Law recognizing individual responsibility for international crimes. The tribunals recorded many achievements but were equally flawed with criticisms. This however provided the necessary clout for the establishment of a permanent mechanism to punish offenders of international humanitarian law.
After series of negotiations, the United Nations’ General Assembly convened the Rome Conference on 17 July, 1998 where the Rome Statute was adopted and this brought about the International Criminal Court. It is a permanent court which prosecutes and punishes individuals for the most serious offences of global concern i.e. genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The mandate of the court is to ensure that violators of international criminal law do not go unpunished. The Rome Statute sets out the court’s jurisdiction, structure and functions. The statute is not retrospective because the court will only punish individuals who commit crimes after 1 July 2002, being the date the Rome Statute entered into force.
1.1.0: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The motivating factor for choosing this topic is to critically examine and analyse international crimes bearing in mind the evolution of international criminal tribunals and the activities of the International Criminal Court aimed at deterring people from committing international crimes.
Certain crimes are intrinsically contrary to international law so that states are either by customary law or treaty entitled to try persons accused of the offences and punish persons found guilty whether or not they are committed in their territories and irrespective of the nationality of the accused. This is the principle of universal jurisdiction which applies to piracy, slavery and war crimes.
Hence, the establishment of the International Criminal Court was seen as a right step geared towards the prevention of inhumane acts and the punishment of offenders in situations where such crimes were committed. Although the court has recorded many successes, it still has some challenges bedevilling it.
The choice of this topic was borne out of the necessity to examine the activities of the Court viz a viz its successes and challenges in a bid to achieve its mandate and to make the world community a peaceful one to live in.
1.2.0: OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The cardinal reason for undertaking this research is to critically, analytically and jurisprudentially examine international crimes and the operations of the International Criminal Court. The research is to carefully and surgically analyse the various acts that constitute international crimes.
This long essay is also geared towards tracing the evolution of international criminal tribunals and the precedents they laid which contributed positively to the development of international humanitarian law. Their ad hoc nature also brought about agitations for the establishment of a permanent tribunal to prosecute violators of International Criminal Law.
Also, the aim of this work is to shed light on the activities of the International Criminal Court highlighting its resolute firmness to prosecute offenders no matter how highly placed in the society. The achievements of the court will also be brought to the fore including the numerous challenges it is grappling with in a bid to achieve its mandate.
1.3.0: FOCUS OF THE STUDY
The focus of this long essay is to establish the various acts that constitute international crimes and are regarded as violations of international criminal law. The efforts of the International Criminal Court in guarding against the commission of such crimes will also be examined. The Court has opened investigations into situations of conflict and this will be adequately discussed.
Also, the Court has recorded many laudable achievements but there are setbacks militating against its successes. The Court has influenced the development of international humanitarian law and this is also discussed with solutions proffered.
1.4.0: SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work centres on international crimes including the evolution of international criminal tribunals bearing in mind their influence and contributions to the development of international criminal law leading to the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
Chapter One discusses the general introduction of the research, the reasons that facilitated the choice of this topic and the focus of the work. The textbooks used are reviewed and some of the words consistently used are defined.
Chapter Two examines acts that constitute international crimes, tracing the evolution of international criminal tribunals which were ad hoc tribunals. The ad hoc nature of the tribunals finally led to a clamour for the establishment of the permanent court to prosecute war crimes.
Chapter Three focuses extensively on an overview of the international criminal court including its jurisdiction, structure, membership, investigations carried out by the court and the court’s contribution to international law.
Chapter Four discusses the numerous achievements of the court and the challenges militating against its efficiency.
Chapter Five is about the general conclusion and the recommendations that will assist the Court in functioning effectively and efficiently.