Values on the Move: The Colombian Sentencing Practice and the Principle of Complementarity Under the Rome Statute
iCourts Working Paper Series nr. 24
19 Pages Posted: 13 May 2015 Last revised: 1 Dec 2015
Date Written: May 12, 2015
This paper is about self-identification of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’). As the focus of international criminal justice shifts to national prosecutions, it is unclear to what extent the ICC will act as the enforcer of international norms on the ground. The paper discusses the principle of complementarity using the case study of Colombia. The ICC prosecution team has been conducting preliminary examinations in this country for over ten years and has yet to decide whether to move to the stage of formal investigations. In doing so, it must assess, among other things, whether reduced or suspended sentences rendered to senior perpetrators by the local judiciary are adequate in light of the gravity of the crimes committed during the continuing civil war. The issue of sentencing in Colombia illustrates the difficulties the Court may face in deciding on a state’s willingness to undertake genuine prosecutions. The ICC has yet to determine its role in adjusting the values conceived internationally to the domestic terrain. In the case of Colombia, the matter is further complicated by the fact that the ICC’s involvement may disturb the ongoing peace negotiations.
Keywords: Complementarity, sentencing, Colombia, ICC, international values
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