Essay Sample: International Criminal Court Pros and Cons

Published: 2019-10-24
Essay Sample: International Criminal Court Pros and Cons
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Law Criminal law Court system
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1186 words
10 min read

The main objective of the United Nations is securing courtesy of human rights as well as the fundamental freedoms of individuals across the globe. Subsequently, a number of topics have been quite significant relative to the fight against overarching impunity and the long stretch struggle for justice, peace and human rights within conflicting situations of the world. The development of the ICC as a permanent court is often perceived as a decisive measure to realize this basic objective. The court was established after the congregation of the international community between 15th and 17th July 1998 in Rome for the finalization of draft statute that establish the International Criminal Court (Steiner & Goodman, et al. 2008, p57).

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More About the Establishment of ICC

The International Criminal Court was established by the treaty in 1998. At that time the world was struggling for peace and was willing to adopt as many multilateral agreements as possible to ease the life of every individual and deliver international criminal justice. The previously set tribunals were quite efficacious so, it was the right time for setting up an international court with broad authority on a permanent basis.

Consequently, the International Criminal Court was established, and it got jurisdiction over inernational genocide and war crimes, those performed against humanity and crimes based on aggression towards the civilian population. The ICC could prosecute the members of the ICC statute and initiate criminal proceedings when a crime was committed in the territory of the state party, regardless of the alleged perpetrator’s nationality.

This happened more than twenty years ago, but now, it has been generally acknowledged that the ICC founders’ expectations weren’t met. The judicial proceedings not only grab a lot of time, but they are convoluted and cumbrous. A vast majority of those who were accused are still at large trying to escape international justice. It should be noted that the former head of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir is still at liberty, and he didn’t face the consequences of his behavior.

The number of convictions for the biggest crimes was negligible, but the amount of money spent was really impressive, around €1,6 billion.

The United Nations human rights agency had several key objectives for the establishment of the court. First, the court was intended to deliver justice for all. In many instances, an international Criminal Court has been sought after as the missing links within the legal system of the world. The Hague based court was intended to handle inter-state cases as opposed to individual cases. Without the international court dealing with personal responsibilities for enforcing human rights laws, genocide acts and other egregious infringement of human rights had been often neglected. For a period of about five decades, there have been several instances in which crimes against humanity have had no one to be held accountable for. For instance, in 1970s, the state of Cambodia approximated a total of 2 million murders by Khmer Rouge (Appleton & Grover, 2007, p601). There has been similar incidences f armed conflicts in other countries such as Liberia and Mozambique among other countries.

The human rights agency in the UN also intended to end impunity. According to Jose Ayala Lasso, a former High Commissioner for Human rights of the UN, an individual is better placed for trial and judgment for murder of one individual than for a 100,000 persons. It has also been argued that crimes against international laws are committed by individuals as opposed to abstract entities thus; the punishment of the individual perpetrators is the only way that International Law can be enforced (Steiner & Goodman, et al. 2008, p89). Subsequently, the establishment of a mechanism in which individual criminal accountability for all can be enforced is the foundation of the international criminal law.

Similarly, the UN also supported the establishment of the International Criminal Court also intended to assist in ending conflicts. It was argued that peace cannot prevail without due pursuit of law. Besides, there cannot be meaningful legislations without the court mechanisms for determining what is lawful and just under given circumstances. In situations such as ethnic conflicts, violence bears more violence and one problem precedes a bigger one (Steiner & Goodman, et al. 2008, p91). The formation of the court was a prospective guarantee that some perpetrators of genocides can be brought to justices which acts as deterrence mechanism besides enhancing possible termination of conflicts.

For and Against the ICC

In support of the Court:

- They endorsed the creation of the parliament in Kenya, so the International Criminal Court was called.

- The judiciary in Kenya is far from being perfect. There are numerous pitfalls making it weak, and this is a well-known fact that bribery is one of the biggest problems there. Citizens of Kenya know that they can give a bribe in order not to pay a fine they get due to violating the traffic rules. It shouldn’t be a widely-spread phenomenon for sure.

- The Court could be a perfect catalyst of a plethora of reforms, aimed at improving the life and well-being of the citizens. It could improve the future development of Kenya, fighting crime, poverty, and other issues preventing people from leading a normal life.

- The ICC will target Politicians who are used to doing business and make resolutions only in their favor without taking into consideration the rights of regular citizens.

Against the International Criminal Court:

- The Kenyan justice system isn’t perfect because the ICC is present there.

- The legitimacy of the Court is questionable due to the fact that it depends on the UN Security Council and represents not so many countries worldwide.

- The judicial institutions in Kenya can be weakened by the ICC. The possible outcome is a crisis if nothing will be changed in the nearest future.

Although the International Criminal Court was intended to generate a number of human rights accomplishments, it was marred with significant obstacles with conflicting claims against its formation. For instance, it was argued that the ICC is not justified as countries are sovereign states and therefore should prosecute their criminals within their territories. Otherwise, the intervention of the ICC was perceived as an infringement of the countries territorial integrity. Besides, Nuremberg and other novel legislations are formed and enforced on individuals. State parties to the ICC had to sign and ratify the Rome statute that establishes the court in order to inform individuals subjected to the court hearings with better understanding of the meanings of crimes and elements of trial within the courts jurisdiction such as genocide and crimes of aggression (Dempsey, 2001, p67). These elements form a few concepts that the opponents of the formation of ICC provided among others.


Appleton, C., & Grover, B. (2007). The pros and cons of life without parole. British Journal ofCriminology, 47(4), 597-615.

Dempsey, G. T. (2001). Reasonable doubt: The case against the proposed International Criminal Court. Washington.

Steiner, H. J., Alston, P., & Goodman, R. (2008). International human rights in context: law,politics, morals: text and materials. Oxford University Press, USA.

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