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General information about the activities of the International Criminal Court.

ICC general

Mahmood Mamdani criticises the TRC and ICC’s narrow focus
BooksLive - 9 May 2013

"The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) only dealt with individual violators of human rights in a narrow way, ignoring the issues that led to the violence – and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is doing the same. This is what Mahmood Mamdani, author of Define and Rule, told Shaun de Waal in a recent interview ..."


Mahmood Mamdani: Legal Band-Aid not for deep wounds
Mail & Guardian - 3 May 2013

"What is common to the TRC and the ICC is that both ignore the issues that led to the violence. But there’s no real way forward unless we take on the issues. I believe we are dealing with cycles of violence and, when it comes to cycles of violence such as go into the making of a civil war, each side has a narrative of victimhood ..."


International Criminal law - justice or mirage?
by Matthew Parish - TransConflict, 2 May 2013

"It is indefensible to ignore the debate on international criminal law, all the more when the pretext for doing so involves relying upon the misery of war crimes victims as a means of perpetuating a branch of the legal profession. Humanity improves by examining vexed subjects until the best ideas win. To stifle debate is to suppress the social progress to which we surely all aspire ..."


Selective Justice - Crosstalk
Russia Today - 14 January 2013

"Is the International Criminal Court unfair and biased? Is it really about geopolitics? The US refuses to sign up as member of the court while proclaiming itself a nation governed by the rule of law. Is this hypocrisy? A vast majority of investigations at the ICC come from Africa – but surely there have been other major crimes committed in other parts
of the world. So why aren’t they looked into? CrossTalking with Lawrence Douglas,
William Keylor and George Szamuely ..."


Thinking about the International Criminal Court
by Elliott Abrams - Council on Foreign Relations, 10 July 2012

"The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague delivered a sentence of 14 years yesterday against a Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga. This is not much cause for celebration, for it is the first sentence ever handed down by the ICC–after ten years of work, at a cost of about $100 million a year. The court suffers from a variety of ailments that go beyond being new .. "


The International Criminal Court and the Arab World
by Maryam Jamshidi - OpenDemocracy, 4 July 2012

"The International Criminal Court (ICC) officially began its work ten years ago on July 1, 2002. While it has come to include over 120 member states from around the globe, the Court’s expansive geographical ambit has been less than obvious from its caseload. Until now, the ICC has exercised its jurisdiction in only one particular part of the globe, Africa, raising concerns that its work is guided by political, rather than legal, considerations ..."


The ICC's many flaws can't simply be glossed over
by Toby Cadman - The Guardian, 28 June 2012

"In the eyes of many Africans, the ICC is merely a European-sponsored service delivering 'victors' justice' ..."


If there were global justice, Nato would be in the dock over Libya
by Seauman Milne - The Guardian, 15 May 2012

"So long as international law is only used against small or weak states in the developing world, it won't be a system of international justice, but an instrument
of power politics and imperial enforcement ..."


Court Rise, Enter Your Honours!
by Dr David Hoile - New African, 1 March 2012

"The ICC's judicial division consists of 18 judges who are elected to the Court by the Assembly of States Parties. They serve 9-year terms and are not generally eligible for re-election. All judges must be nationals of states parties to the Rome Statute, and no two judges may be nationals of the same state. They must be “persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective states for appointment to the highest offices". But some of the judges are appointed because it is a cosy retirement job. Some are washed-up politicians. Some are diplomats, and others are appointed because their governments pay the ICC a lot of money ..."


Who pays for the ICC?
New African - 1 March 2012

"Any examination of the ICC’s budget clearly shows that the Court is umbilically tied financially to the European Union, which provides over 60% of its funding. Prof Mahmood Mamdani has said the ICC is dancing to the “tune” of Western states. Given Africa’s traumatic experience with the very same colonial powers that now in effect direct the ICC, it is an unfortunate case of déjà vu ..."


The Politics of International Law
by Courtenay Griffiths QC - New African, 1 March 2012

"I was a newcomer to international criminal law when I was approached to defend Charles Taylor, the former president of the Republic of Liberia in July 2007. My experiences in this field over the subsequent four years, particularly following the US and NATO operations in Libya, have led me to feel that fundamentally one cannot come to the practice, as opposed to the theory, of international criminal law, with the calculating eyes of a lawyer, but rather with the lessons and wisdom of history very much in mind, particularly the history of European and American colonialism ..."


Is the ICC fit for purpose?
by Dr David Hoile - New African, 1 March 2012

"The International Criminal Court (ICC) was embraced with enthusiasm by a wide range of people, NGOs, and governments when it came into being on 1 July 2002. Many of those who initially welcomed it were African. Despite an auspicious start, however, the ICC has run into considerable controversy. With hindsight, it can be seen that the Court clearly contained the seeds of its own destruction from the start. It has turned out to be one of the unsavoury manifestations of globalisation with what appears to be an almost exclusive focus on Africa ..."


Europe, masters behind the ICC
New African, 1 March 2012

"The power of the ICC remains with its big four funders: Germany, Britain, France, and Italy. They dominate the Court, they make the running and the decisions: It is their Court, just as to all intents and purposes they dominate the EU ..."


What's the ICC up to?
New African, 1 May 2009

"So what use is the ICC? Millius Palayiwa, registrar of Christ Church College, Oxford University, attempts an answer in this article. When it comes to international justice, he writes, it is important to know who is doing the indicting, who is being indicted, at whose behest, what the charges are, and the system of law in use ... "


Global Justice or Global Revenge? The ICC and the Politicization of International Criminal Justice
Lecture delivered by Prof Dr Hans Köchler at the World Conference for International Justice - 6 April 2009

"Among many sectors of international civil society the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has raised hopes that, from now on, international crimes could be prosecuted in a comprehensive, credible and consistent manner, in a way completely different from the victor’s justice of post-war tribunals or ad hoc tribunals created by the United Nations Security Council, the supreme executive organ of the world organization, in the years after the end of the Cold War. However, the noble idea of international criminal justice, administered by the ICC as a permanent institution, has been compromised from the outset and in two basic respects ... "

This article is also available in a pdf version, click here click here


The ICC and Universal Jurisdiction: “Ubi lex voluit, dicit; ubi noluit, tacit.”
by Dr John Laughland - ICCwatch

The ICC judges are currently considering whether to approve the indictment issued in July 2008 by the ICC Prosecutor against the President of Sudan. Their decision is expected on 4th March.

Sudan is not a signatory state to the ICC Charter and therefore the country would not normally be considered subject to its jurisdiction. However, the situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council in 2005. In an earlier ruling in 2007, on indictments brought against a Sudanese minister, Ahmed Haroun, and a Sudanese paramilitary commander, Ali Kushayb, the judges confirmed the indictments, claiming that this referral by the Security Council meant that the ICC did have jurisdiction over states which have not signed or ratified its Charter.

It is therefore to be expected that the judges will make the same decision with respect to the indictment of the Sudanese president. But what was the basis of the 2007 ruling and how soundly based is it in the ICC Charter and in law? ...

This ICCwatch article is available in a pdf version, click here click here (40k)


Nothing international about ICC
by Linda Heard - Arab News

"In 1998, 120 countries signed a treaty establishing a permanent international criminal court so that “no ruler, no state, no junta and no army anywhere will be able to abuse human rights with impunity”. The principle is great and honorable. A truly international court that protects ordinary citizens from abuse by their own governments and foreign nations is something we should all welcome. But wait...there’s just one problem. The International Criminal Court (ICC) doesn’t hold to its own constitution because, to date, it has held only Africans to account ... "


The Complexities Behind the al-Bashir Case
NRC Handelsblad, 5 March 2009

"The arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is a victory for the court's top prosecutor. But the chances that the case will ever come to trial are slim ... "


Lawyers divided over ICC witness preparation
By Katy Glassborow - Institute for War & Peace Reporting

"As the first trial at the International Criminal Court, ICC, gets under way, the question of how to prepare witnesses for sharing their painful stories in court is dividing lawyers and judges. After a prosecution witness in proceedings against Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga temporarily withdrew his testimony, observers suggested he had not been properly prepared before appearing in court ... "


Crimes need to be punished, but is the ICC the right means?
by Brett D. Schaefer, Radio Free Europe

"Although supporters of the court have a noble purpose, there are a number of reasons to be cautious and concerned about the effect the ICC could have on national sovereignty and politically precarious situations the world over .. "


International court under fire for prosecution policy
NRC Handelsblad

"The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo has not only been accused of sexual misconduct but faces criticism about the way his office operates. The final of NRC’s three-part series into the ICC looks into the way the prosecutor selects cases to investigate ... "


Utopia deferred
by Melanie Phillips - The Spectator

"The ICC supposedly embodies enlightened thinking, civilised values, the eclipse of the old order of venal self-interest by a collective endeavour of nations standing shoulder to shoulder to bring the world’s worst war criminals to the bar of justice.

How deeply embarrassing, then, that its very first trial has been put on ice because of a gross abuse of process by the court’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo ... "


International justice is power without responsibility
by John Laughland - The Independent

"Many people welcome the recent growth in the power of international criminal tribunals. However, their track record should give cause for extreme concern about
the way that this new supranational power will be wielded ... "


The International Criminal Court is a threat to democracy
by Daniel Hannan MEP - Daily Telegraph

"A fearful blow has been struck against national sovereignty. The International Criminal Court has launched a prosecution against a head of state - a state, moreover, that has not signed the ICC treaty. International human rights apparatchiks are enjoying the warm glow of self-righteousness; but they have just made the world a darker and more dangerous place ..."


ICC comes under sharp criticism from US-based Human Rights Watch
Hirondelle News Agency, Fondation Hirondelle - Arusha

"The American organization for the protection of human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has sharply criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor and its communication policy in a status report presented on Friday In The Hague, The Netherlands ... "


Can Excess of Justice Lead to Injustice?
by Lisa Clifford - Institute for War & Peace Reporting

"A man who does public relations for Sudan’s foreign ministry recently asked me if I thought Ahmed Harun would get a fair trial at the International Criminal Court, ICC.
He insisted it was impossible, and in the 45 degree heat of a Sudanese summer afternoon it was simply too hot to talk ICC politics ... "


Peace v. justice: contradictory or complementary
by Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein, Marieke Wierda - American Society of International Law (2006)

"It is with great pleasure that I join you today to share some thoughts on what remains the dilemma bedeviling our age, as countries continue to attempt the transition from conflict to peace ... "


Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? The International Criminal Court as a weapon of asymmetric warfare
by W. Chadwick Austin, Antony Barone Kolenc - Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law (2006)

"The United States is engaged in a war on terror against enemies who wage "asymmetric war" through terrorism, media manipulation, and "law-fare"--exploiting judicial processes to achieve political or military objectives. This Article explores whether the fledgling International Criminal Court (ICC) could eventually be exploited by these groups as a tool of asymmetric "law-fare." ... "


ICC: A well-intentioned but flawed court
by Alan W. Dowd, World Politics Review

"Lubanga's trial was supposed to be the ICC's first case and its first test. But with the trial now indefinitely delayed due to prosecutorial misconduct, the ICC has failed the test. No one should be surprised by this ... "


ICC indictment of a Head of State is 'A Political Act'
Interview with Stephen Ellis, Leiden University - Radio Free Europe

"Indicting a head of state is a political act and it poses some fundamental questions about the ICC: is it an independent court or a political institution? ... "


Dilemmas of justice: The challenges faced by the international criminal court are about more than "peace vs justice"
by Phil Clark & Nicholas Waddell - Prospect

"In the May issue of Prospect, Richard Dowden argued that the international criminal court’s (ICC) approach to justice in northern Uganda was hindering the chances of a sustainable peace deal between the government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The dilemma is a genuine one, but it is worth adding that coverage of the Uganda situation has often been framed in simple “peace vs justice” terms. This "boxing match" terminology is more hindrance than help. Rather than polarise the debate further, it is more useful to consider how different approaches at different levels, at different times and by different institutions can address the challenges of mass crimes in complementary ways ... "


ICC in the dock: worrying signs that the international criminal court's approach to justice may be jeopardising peace in Africa
by Richard Dowden - Prospect

"The international criminal court (ICC) was set up in 2002 to prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Some feared that its western-inspired, universalist idea of justice might come into conflict with local forms of law, jeopardising the process of reconciliation. Now that the court has started to flex its muscles—issuing its first warrants, in October 2005, against five leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, and more recently making an arrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo and identifying suspects in Sudan—there are signs that these fears may turn out to have been justified ... "


Lies of the vigilantes: The Srebrenica ruling punctures the false claims that underpin the doctrine of intervention
by John Laughland - The Guardian

"Slobodan Milosevic was posthumously exonerated on Monday when the international court of justice ruled that Serbia was not responsible for the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica ... "


Criminal proceedings: The case against Slobodan Milosevic would never have held up in a proper court of law
by John Laughland - The Guardian

"I was one of the last western journalists to meet Slobodan Milosevic. Having been called to The Hague as a potential witness, I spent an hour in his cell in January last year. Like most who met him, I found him polite and intelligent. "We will win," he told me. "Freedom is a universal value. They have no evidence against me." Such statements will shock those who have been assured that Milosevic was a nationalist dictator bent on establishing a racially pure Greater Serbia. But civilised societies ought to be reluctant to condone criminal convictions based on hate campaigns ... "


Post-Modernism & the Silent Revolution
by Marc Glendening - European Journal

"In the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dominant view in the West was that liberal democracy had won a decisive, final victory. According to Francis Fukuyama we were experiencing the 'end of history'. No illiberal ideology, including militant Islam, he argued, would from now on be capable of seriously threatening representative government. This view should now be viewed as dangerously complacent ... "


Sending Blair to Prison
by John Laughland - Antiwar.com

"Following the decision not to prosecute the GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun, the suspicion is that the government will do anything to keep secret the advice submitted to it by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, on the legality of the Iraq war. There is a very simple reason why the government would want to do this. If it turns out that the Iraq war was illegal, then Tony Blair could go to prison. In 2000, the United Kingdom ratified the Rome treaty which created the International Criminal Court ... "


A Lawless Global Court: How the International Criminal Court undermines the U.N. system
by John Rosenthal - Hoover Institution Policy Review, Feb/Mar 2004

"The Bush administration’s opposition to the recently inaugurated International Criminal Court (ICC) has provoked expressions of outrage and disappointment from human rights advocates worldwide and especially shrill condemnations from European commentators. Critics claim to discern in the administration’s rejection of the court a return to American “unilateralism” and proof of the arrogant disregard of the “one remaining superpower” for the wishes of the “international community” or, at any rate, the rest of it. Such rebukes give the impression that the court enjoys a far higher degree of international support than in fact it does ... "


Debate: Is International Law a Threat to Democracy?
Council on Foreign Relations

Speakers: Jed Rubenfeld, Robert R. Slaughter professor of law, Yale Law School
Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Presider: Fareed Zakaria, editor, Newsweek International


The self-defeating International Criminal Court
by Jack Goldsmith - Professor of Law, The University of Chicago (2003)

"Great expectations greeted the opening of the International Criminal
Court (ICC) on July 1, 2002. Kofi Annan captured these expectations when he expressed the hope that the new ICC would "deter future war criminals and bring nearer the day when no ruler, no state, no junta and no army anywhere will be able to abuse human rights with impunity." ... Scores of other world officials, human rights activists, and international law experts made similar predictions.
These are unrealistic dreams. They are unrealistic for many reasons. But perhaps the most salient reason is that the ICC as currently organized is, and will remain, unacceptable to the United States ... "


The International Criminal Court and social engineering
by Richard G. Wilkins - National Observer, Australia and World Affairs (2001)

"The I.C.C. statute purports to create a judicial mechanism with jurisdiction potentially reaching every individual on the face of the earth, whether or not that individual resides in (or is a citizen of) a country that has ratified the statute ... As currently structured, the I.C.C. Statute proposes to transfer a vast amount of decision making authority from previously sovereign nations to an international court that will be remote from (and unable to be controlled by) the diverse cultures and peoples of the world ... "


International criminal courts: some dissident views on the continuation of war by penal means
by Carrie Gustafson - Houston Journal of International Law (1998)

"The recent horror of civil war in the Balkans generated a particular urgency in the West to do something to mask the appearance of disorder and moral collapse on its periphery. With the United States as lead lobbyist and financier, two ad hoc international criminal courts (ICCs) were established, ostensibly to restore order to the former Yugoslavia(3) and, as an afterthought, to Rwanda.(4) Hailed by U.N. leadership as moral progress,(5) these institutions were to merge our humanitarian instincts with a purported administrative capacity to control deviant behavior. Virtually overnight, the capacity of the international community to punish in a presumptively nondiscriminatory and salubrious manner grew exponentially, with scant philosophical reflection or historical depth ... "

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