THE IMPERATIVES OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT ON CRIME OF GENOCIDE
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The idea of a strong standing tribunal to try serious violations of international law has been around since the end of World War II. After WWII, the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals were set of ad-hoc by the Allies, the victors of the World War II to try the principals of the loosing axis power. While the Nuremberg was regarded as more successful and significant than the Tokyo tribunal. During the years of the cold war, the idea of the future of International Criminal Court largely occupied the back burner of the International affairs. With the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990's various tribunal and international conflicts broke out in the world. Most notably, after the break-up of former Yugoslavia and the modern Balkan wars, it was clear war crime, genocide and crimes against humanity were occurring on a mass scale. Similarly, tribal warfare between the Hutus and Tutsis in several African countries including Rwanda and Burundi lead to enormous human right abuses. The United Nations Security Council established ad-hoc tribunals to address the international crimes arising from those crises, the tribunals were set up specifically for the propose of those local conflicts, they revived the interest in the need to established a permanent global criminal court. And in 1998, the Rome statute was drafted, which set forth the legal frame work for a standing tribunal to address war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, this was achieved in April 2002. The ICC formally come in existence on July 1st, 2002. The coalition of countries and civil society organisations in more 150 countries work in partnership to strengthen international corporation with the ICC, ensure that the court is fair, effective and independent; make justice both visible and universal. An advanced strong national laws, that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, genocides and crimes against humanity. The provision of the Rome statute do not instill enough confidence to preclude the possibility.
In 1945, two monumental tribunals arose out of the ashes of World War II.
The International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg, Germany and Tokyo, Japan.
Both were established by the victorious nations of the World War II, in order to
provide swift justice for the victims of atrocities and punishment for the
In the decades after the war, several adhoc tribunals were established to
deal with various states sponsored crimes, including those tribunals set up in
Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s. An all encompassing tool of Justice, though
had yet to be organized.
The 1998 meeting of nations in Rome however addressed the wide spread
desire for international justice by creating the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC was constructed by the United Nations to be a permanent, non-partisan
judicial instrument to promote the Rule of Law and ensure that gravest crimes do
not go unpunished.
Those “grave crimes” include genocide, crimes against humanity; war
crimes and the crimes of aggression. The court officially became operational on
July, 1, 2002 in Hague, Netherlands.
The entry into force of the ICC statute has enabled the court to exercise
jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and
genocide. The court has jurisdiction over crimes committed by individuals who
are nationals of states which have ratified its statute, or who have committed
crimes on the territory of such states. Those conditions are not applicable when a
case is referred to the court by the United Nations security council.
In addition, the court can only act when the relevant state is unable or
unwilling to carry out investigation or prosecutions.
The ICC is a permanent court with potentially universal and over half of the
states have so far ratified its statute. Although the U.S initially started an active
anti-ICC campaign, its opposition has recently lessened since its strategy to
undermine the court has proven to be ineffective and its fears have prove to be
The ICC would not undermine the sovereignty of nations because it would
function only where states are unable or unwilling to.
The imperatives of International Criminal Tribunal, A case study of Crimes
of genocide, deal with the historical evolution of this important branch of Public
International Law. It is the aim of this research work to critically analyse and
appraise the contribution of international community to the development of world
peace. Over the years from antiquity, to the modern times, rules, regulations,
protocol and conventions were evolved which govern the contract of hostilities in
both international and non-international conflicts.
The world has witnessed some of the most gruesome attacks on humanity
by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes leading to the murder of innocent people
to such alarming proposition that the international community could not ignore.
Global response to the United Nations to make genocide on international crime
and bring its perpetrator to justice. These efforts culminated in the United Nations
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of genocide in 1948.
And the event in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda which led to the
destruction of thousands of innocent lives further strengthened the need for an
International Criminal Court, which had long been under consideration. And with
the adoption of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court, International
community took major steps towards ending the culture of impunity that has so
often prevailed in our world.
“In the prospect of an International Criminal Court lies the promise of universal justice. That is the simple soaring hope of this vision, we are close to its realization and we will do our part to see it through till the end. We ask you to do yours in our struggle to ensure that no ruler, no state, no junta and no army anywhere can abuse human right with impunity. Only then will the innocent of distant wars and conflicts know that they may sleep under the cover of justice; that they too have rights and that those who violate that rights will be punished”.
The words of the former United Nations Secretary-General, quoted above,
aptly demonstrated global view with concern on the negative. It also indicates
the direction of international community wants or intends to go in the quest to
curb incidences of genocide around the world.1
1 Kofi Anan, Former United Nations Secretary General. Available at http://www.un.org/law/icc/general/overview.htm 16th November, 2010
The history of mankind is the story of power struggle, confrontations and
armed conflict between nations, people and individuals. From earliest times, men
have been pre-occupied with the problem of how to control the effect of violence
and its attendant human sufferings with varying degrees of success.
For example, prior to the middle of the 19th Century, agreements to protect
victims of wars were of more transient character, binding only, upon the
contracting parties thereto and based upon strict reciprocity. In reality, they
constituted purely military agreement usually effectively only for the duration of a
particular period of hostility. This state of affairs was changed by the birth of
The general assembly in 1995 session therefore decided to convene a
preparatory committee of member states; non governmental and
intergovernmental statutes in light of the myriad of amendment to ILC drafts as at
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