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International Criminal Court Essay

1779 words - 7 pages

International Criminal Court

Allegations of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity have
undoubtedly received unprecedented press coverage in recent years –
more than at any time since Nuremberg. This is not because the
incidences of such barbarities have increased, but
simply because those crimes are brought to us more rapidly these days
by the electronic media. Since the early 1990’s the international
community has witnessed of a variety of criminal tribunals that were
meant to promote peace-making and political transition in situations
of gross violations of human rights and armed conflict among ethnical
or religious groups. This tendency led to the establishment by the UN
of two ad hoc Tribunals-for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda-and
of the International Criminal Court (ICC). There was also a
proliferation of 'mixed' judicial bodies-in Cambodia, Sierra Leone,
Kosovo and East Timor-composed of both national and international
judges and enforcing domestic as well as international criminal law.
It is perhaps most cynical to assert that transitional societies,
convalescing from conflict or moving from oppression towards
democracy, have developed a variety of ways of dealing with past war
crimes and human rights abuses. Irrefutably they have united the
short-term and long-term goals of ending the conflict and preventing
its recurrence, and achieving social stability and reconciliation.

Almost a century after the idea for such a body had first been mooted,
on 17 July 1998, to the acclaim of many; a permanent International
Criminal Court (ICC) was born at last in Rome. The adoption on that
day of the Court's Statute constituted the fourth major step of the
journey of international criminal justice which commenced in the
European Autumn of 1945, in one of the few buildings then remaining
standing in Nuremberg, Germany.

However such has been the impact of the terrorist attacks in New York
and Washington that they have thrown into sharp focus critical
deficiencies in the purpose, coherence and practical mechanisms
developed for sentencing in the ICC. Not only did such
events suggest a greater immediacy for the ICC, but also, more
significantly, a realisation that crimes of this magnitude, loaded
with so many ideological and political interests and crying out for a
'just' resolution, place the role of the ICC at the forefront of the
debate.

The pertinent point in relation to this is of some magnitude. They
force us to re-examine questions which relate to the penality of international trial process. What are the parameters the
retribution and vengeance? Should those consist of a retributive
sanction, as any other form of revenge or an exemplary penalty with a
strong pedagogical impact? Should we force a criminal to pay for his
guilt, and favour his redemption or...

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