Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Limits of the ICC

This article spotlights the powerlessness of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This article profiles two of the men in positions of power who led and supported the crimes against humanity committed by the Janjaweed militia in Sudan. While the ICC "issued arrest warrants" one year ago, the Sudanese government says the ICC "has no jurisdiction to try Sudanese suspects". What then is the role of the ICC? Is it enough to encourage member states to voluntarily extradite those who commit gross human rights violations to be tried in front of the national community? Sudan won't extradite the suspects, the U.S. isn't even a member (lucky for former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, among others): What is the proper role of the ICC?

13 comments:

Aditi said...

The International Criminal Court, established in July, 2002, aims to punish perpetrators of crimes related to murder, enslavement, extermination, torture and rape. There is a need for an international body, which is universally binding. However, the ICC, which was formed, has huge gaps in its constitution. It does not have universal jurisdiction in that a person cannot be tried for crimes committed in another country if the person belongs to a country that’s not part of the Rome Treaty. Also, the ICC cannot persecute a person if his own country is trying him. A treaty cannot be universal if all countries are not willing to participate. A lot of countries have refused to sign the treaty, one of which is the US. If major powers such as the US refuse to sign the treaty it reduces the value and effectiveness of the ICC. The US has refused to sign because it believes that armed forces carrying out military operations will be vulnerable to indictment by the ICC. However, war crimes are prohibited by international law in any case. States are expected to take action against its troops if they have committed such crimes. The refusal of the US to join the ICC shows the universal icon of the gap between the ideals of American freedom and the sordid realities of American detention and interrogation practice. It makes America’s talks of democracy sound hollow. Without the US, the ICC can never quite gain the effectiveness it requires. I believe that it is crucial for super powers like the US to sign the treaty for it to become wholly effective and actually be able to try perpetrators of crimes for their actions.

Nikki M said...

The ICC is such a powerful statement because it says when you commit human right abuses, it is not only a crime against the specific victims, but a crime against humanity and as a global community we will not tolerate it and we will hold you accountable to the entire world. That type of global citizenship is really unprecedented. But the fact remains that nations have their sovereignty, and the ICC has no power to force membership. I have trouble imagining that in the near future the U.S. and other countries who are committing crimes against humanity are going to willingly subject themselves to any such jurisdiction.

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