Most Important Issues in International Criminal Justice Today?

Most Important Issues in International Criminal Justice Today?

That’s the question asked by the blog of Oxford University Press. All of the short answers, provided by scholars ranging from Ruti Teitel to Bill Schabas, are worth a read. Here’s mine:

In my view, it is time to begin to question whether the International Criminal Court will ever play a major role in the fight against impunity. This is not an issue of bad management, poor decision making, or anything else epiphenomenal and potentially fixable. Instead, it’s a question of institutional design: it is simply unclear whether the Court, by aiming to keep watch over both the victors and the vanquished, will ever be able to muster the kind of international support – from states, and most importantly from the Security Council – that it needs to conduct credible investigations and prosecutions. There is reason for scepticism, given the Court’s inability to prosecute both rebels and government officials in even one conflict. Indeed, it’s difficult to avoid wondering: for all its flaws, is victor’s justice the only international criminal justice possible? Is selectivity an inherent part of an international criminal tribunal that works?

You can find all of the answers here.

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International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, Organizations
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Robert Clarke

From a practical standpoint, at least given the current state of international society, there will be people who are practically beyond reach. However, that doesn’t mean that the groundwork for prosecution shouldn’t be laid immediately. If you wait 20 or 30 years to do the investigation, it is immeasurably harder. Moreover, the fact that people who seemingly have no reason to fear ending up in the dock in the near future seem to be so concerned to avoid that possibility rather suggests that even a remote threat of trial has an effect, and, it would seem to follow, tends to deter crimes being committed.