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International Criminal Law: A Fallacy Or Reality?

763 words - 4 pages

The opinion that those persons who commit heinous acts against others should be held responsible for those actions, especially in the laws of war, have been present for centuries. It was not until after World War I, that this type of justice would gain an international stage. However, even though the Great War claimed the lives of millions of service members and citizens on each front it was viewed as the nation that was held responsible not the individual. World War II was a different matter. Though commanders received orders from high command it was ultimately under their discretion as how to proceed. Both the Axis and Allied powers committed atrocities, however history is written by the victors. At the end of World War II the crimes committed by the Germans and Japanese armed forces would come to light during the tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo. Unlike the war reparations of World War I, these trials would focus on the individuals who ordered the actions and those who were accomplices. These trials, and those of more recent years, would set the foundation of a plausible international criminal court and law to follow. The current court however is still in its infancy. Even international criminal law is continuing to evolve and develop in order to more effectively prosecute those who commit these atrocious acts. However, with the effect of globalization and the continuing cooperation of nations to aid one another, even with an underlying political agenda, the growth and plausibility of an international court can gain ground in the field of reality.

Currently, those who commit crimes of an international scale are brought to trial through tribunals and as of 2002, more often through the International Criminal Court. Though, even with the establishment of this court Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are used rather than the court or tribunals. In order to understand the difficulty of maintaining and bringing convictions to an international justice system, one must understand what constitutes an international crime. According to the Trials of War Criminals an international crime has been defined as “an act universally recognized as criminal, which is considered a grave matter of international concern and for some valid reason cannot be left within the exclusive jurisdiction of the state that would have control over it under ordinary circumstances” (U.S. v List, 1948). This creates...

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