Pros and Cons of an International Criminal Court

Published: 2019-10-24 08:00:00
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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).

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.

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 InternationalCriminal 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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