- Term Papers and Free Essays

The Future Of Icc

Essay by   •  April 28, 2011  •  3,174 Words (13 Pages)  •  707 Views

Essay Preview: The Future Of Icc

Report this essay
Page 1 of 13

The International Criminal Court is the latest and most promising development in the institutionalization of global justice. In the words of the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, it represents “a giant step forward in the march towards universal human rights and the rule of law.” It has been created with much support and high expectations, with the objective of not only empowering justice, but more importantly, of spreading the duty to justice. The ICC signifies a vital step of subjecting state sovereignty to the international humanitarian law; the Court is able to evaluate the state’s adherence to international law, and dictate them to abide by the law. Unsurprisingly, this power of the Court has raised much concern, which are justified by precedents. Empirical evidences confirm that international institutions are subject to exploitation and abuse, to further the personal or political interests of either the states or the bureaucrats. And due to the substantial power and authority of the ICC, such abuses can be detrimental. How can we be assured that the Court will stay true to its mandate of serving the international community, and not be exploited?

The answer lies in the innate structure of the ICC and its subsequent system of control. The Court is regulated both by the Court itself and the outside actors in direct and indirect ways. The direct form of regulation lies in the procedural structure, which allows the states and the defendant to challenge the Court’s legitimacy. The indirect regulation is found in the Court’s discretion, which is fueled by its need to remain impartial and legitimate in the eyes of community.

The direct regulation by the outside actors is often misconstrued as a concession, a necessary step of compromise to encourage the participation of states. However, this is not entirely true. It is a concession in that the Court yielded its monopoly on control. But the rationale behind this division of power is to protect the interest of the Court, not the interest of the state. It is in the interest of the Court to remain faithful to the law, but the monopoly of power would most likely cause it to become dysfunctional. The best way to ensure the Court’s own compliance to the law is established by dividing power and establishing a system of checks and balances. Within the international judicial system, both the states and the Court are equal subjects to the international law. The Court’s authority to challenge the state is founded it its adherence to the law. Likewise, the states have authority to challenge the Court on the same basis. The power to challenge the Court cannot be based on the rule of politics or diplomacy, but rather from the rule of law; the Court can only be contested on the grounds of its lawfulness. Thus, this system of checks and balances allows the Court to stay within its mandate while preventing any exploitation by the state. This method of checks and balances is achieved by partitioning the power into the вЂ?power of control’ and the вЂ?power of appeal.’ вЂ?The Power of Control’ is concerned with the “very existence of the community, its decision process, and its continuing efficient operation.” The вЂ?Power of Appeal,’ on the other hand, is concerned with rectifying errors, and ensuring “conformity with the key policies of the community.” In other words, the вЂ?power of control’ is the power to undertake the litigation proceedings, while the вЂ?power of appeal’ is the power to determine whether the litigation process was in compliance to the international law and the Rome Statute.

Within the ICC, the state is given priority in holding the вЂ?power of control.’ The rule of complementarity allows the states to have primacy of jurisdiction, and the state can try the individuals in their own court in the manner prescribed by international law. The Court is endowed with the вЂ?power of appeal,’ where they have the authority to assess whether the state was “unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out the investigation or prosecution.” The unwillingness or the inability of the state court is assessed from “the standpoint of procedural and substantial fairness.” These consist of proceedings shielding the prosecuted person, an unjustified delay, lack of independent or impartial proceedings, lack of resolve, or a sham trial.

In this sense, the Court stands above the state, in that it can assess the state’s capability in the legal system. And since this assessment is subject to interpretation and the Court has the potential to be exploited for other interests. This exploitation is prevented by the state’s вЂ?power of appeal,’ where the Court decision is subject to judgment. First, the state has the right to hearings before the Pre-Trial Chamber, where they can argue the legitimacy of their court proceedings. Second, the Security Council can request the Court to suspend action. According to article 16 of the Rome statute, “no investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded for a period of 12 months, after the Security Council…has requested the Court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions.” This allows both the involved state and the community of states to question the validity of the Court’s action, of whether or not it is in compliance to its mandate.

The same system applies when the Court possesses the вЂ?power of control’ and takes charge of the legal proceedings. The states reserve the вЂ?power of appeal’ in regards to the officers of the Court, and can remove the any judge or prosecutor, if they are deemed incapable. As prescribed in the Rome Statute, a judge can be removed from office if they are “found to have committed serious misconduct of a serious breach of his or her duties under this statute” or if they are “unable to exercise the functions required by this Statute.” The decision to remove the judge or the prosecutor is “made by the Assembly of State Parties by secret ballot” by absolute majority of the States. Thus, the communal consensus of the states ensures that the Court officers are individuals capable of following the laws and remaining impartial. However, the states are only able to decide the officers in general, and cannot decide on the officer’s capability on a specific case. In regards to the specific cases, the direct control and the вЂ?power of appeal’ lies in the



Download as:   txt (21.2 Kb)   pdf (205.9 Kb)   docx (15.8 Kb)  
Continue for 12 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 04). The Future Of Icc. Retrieved 04, 2011, from

"The Future Of Icc" 04 2011. 2011. 04 2011 <>.

"The Future Of Icc.", 04 2011. Web. 04 2011. <>.

"The Future Of Icc." 04, 2011. Accessed 04, 2011.