International Criminal Court Essay, Research Paper
International Criminal Court
In the United States when a criminal goes from state to state it is hard to tell who has jurisdiction over the case. This is a problem because different states have different laws. Also different states may have more sever punishment for a crime than another state. The same is true for international criminals. Many a time a criminal will leave the country in which they have committed the crime so as to avoid prosecution. Then the country they go to will not extradite them back to the country the crime was committed in and the criminal gets off with no punishment. Or, sometimes there are international criminals. Who prosecutes them?
Countries often have radically different legal systems. Some countries are more radical about the steps they take against criminals then others. All these questions have been arising. Many seem to think the answer is in the creation of an international criminal court.
An international criminal court was created. It was adopted on July 17, 1998. But what was the thinking behind it? What were the steps taken to create this international criminal court? What countries favored it and which ones were opposed to it? Let s now take a look at the answers to these questions.
The idea for an international criminal court is not a new idea but rather it is one hundred years old. Many crimes and many criminals have gone unpunished because they do not fall under one country s jurisdiction. Genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity have all gone unpunished.
Originally, a lot of the work to establish this international criminal court was being done by the French government as well as the government of Trinidad and Tobago. The war crimes that were committed during the war between Bosnia-Herzgovina and Croatia as well as the issues that arose with the extradition from Libya have caused many other counties to get behind and support the establishment of an international criminal court.
The role of the United Nations and the Security Council were key in the formation of the international criminal court. They thought of four basic ways they could establish the court.
The first way was to amend the charter of the United Nations. This would make the court part of the body of the United Nations. The down side for this method was the difficulty in which it would be to achieve. Two thirds of the United Nation member countries and all five of the Security Council member countries would have to pass the amendment.
The second way was for the Security Council to pass a resolution. It would need no ratification, it would be instantly created, and it would have international jurisdiction. The problem with this was that the Security Council s ability to do this is limited by the United Nation s charter.
The third way was for the General Assembly to pass a resolution. This would have made the court a smaller part of the General Assembly. This would give the court the support of many countries without needing the support of all five Security Council member countries. It would also not need to go through a ratification process. But the problem with this is that according to the charter of the United Nations the General Assembly does not have the power to do such things.
The fourth way was to have a multilateral treaty . This would not require two thirds of the of the United Nation member nations to pass it nor would it require all five Security Council member nations to pass it. It would only need as many countries to pass it as required by the treaty itself. The downside to this method was that it would only be recognized by the countries who signed. However this was the method that was picked to work the best.
So what will the international criminal court be like once it gets up and running? It will deal with cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. However it will only have jurisdiction over these cases when the domestic court has not investigated or prosecuted the crime or criminal. There are more than fifty governments that saw the establishment of an international criminal court as an opportunity to enforce the international human rights laws.
Where does the United States stand on the establishment of the international criminal court first the United States supported the idea. Officials felt that no matter who it was, the serious crimes, such as genocide and war crimes, had to stop. The United States felt that in the twenty first century we needed a permanent establishment to fight against those individuals who commit crimes against humanity, war crimes, and those who practice genocide. President Clinton had said that he was committed to the establishment of an international criminal court. He wanted to make sure it was fair and just and will strengthen international as well as national law. He also wanted to make sure it met all the standards of due process.
The United States never signed the treaty. Eleven percent of the Republicans voted in favor of it while eighty-nine percent voted against it. Eighty-nine percent of democrats voted in favor of it while eleven percent voted against it.
In Rome, one week before the signing of the treaty the United States threatened to sabotage the treaty. They wanted the international prosecuter to have limited powers. They also wanted the court to have less jurisdiction. The United States said if their conditions were not met they would strongly oppose the treaty. The United States was not the only one opposed to the treaty. Along with the United States, Russia, China, Iraq, Libya, India, and Mexico all opposed the treaty. Canada, Australia, European countries and sixty plus major countries were all in favor of the country.
The human rights people are still not happy. They are already petitioning governments to make the court stronger. They feel that if the court is not made stronger that it will never have a real impact.
Will this international criminal court be successful? It will struggle without the support of some of the major countries, such as the United States, support. The intentions are good. Finally the terrible crimes that have gone unpunished for so long can be dealt with. Peace of mind can be given to those who are persecuted. The world can be a safer place with the success of this court.