An Introduction to International Criminal Tribunals – Challenges, Opportunities and Future Developments
Inside the Minds: Understanding International Criminal Law, 103-114, (Aspatore/Thomson Reuters, 2014), ISBN: 9780314293022
7 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2015
Date Written: August 4, 2014
Atrocity law in application is a series of incompatible goals. It is a struggle between great ideals — the end of impunity perhaps the most important — and local needs, including issues such as stability and restitution. Global norms, individualized trials, victim participation, and defendant’s rights are all (to some degree) at odds, but must also complement one another. While the task is daunting, as Musema’s case confirmed for me, the need plainly exists. The ad hoc tribunals have run their course. The potential for additional situation-specific, internationally created and funded tribunals remains, but is significantly lessened by the existence of the ICC. Hybrid tribunals, those reflecting some combination of national and international features, have had their day in the spotlight with mixed results. The ICC is intended to be a court of last resort, and, practically, it simply does not have the resources to pursue all of the atrocity crimes that occur. Countries adopting the Rome Statute must reform their laws to ensure that activity covered by the Rome Statute is also criminalized locally. Coupled with the complementarity principle, this should result in many more domestic prosecutions for international crimes.
Significant opportunity both for involvement in international criminal law litigation and advocacy/support for international criminal law norms exists at every level, with the potential for significant expansion in domestic proceedings. Related cases including those involving human rights issues at international and local levels provide unique opportunities for lawyers to contribute to the field. Each contribution, big or small, is essential to the maturation of international criminal law.
JEL Classification: K14, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation