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Posted on April 13th, 2014, by

The international criminal court began to operate in 2002 and had a mandate to try cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In such a way, along with the international humanitarian law, there arouse the real judicial institution which aimed at the prosecution and trial of individuals, who were accountable within the jurisdiction of the international criminal court. The international criminal court complemented the international humanitarian law and made the individual accountability virtually inevitable because people would undergo the legal prosecution at the international level, regardless of their position, if they commit crimes under the jurisdiction of the international humanitarian law and international criminal court.

Today, the international crime is defined as a grave crime of international concern that for some valid reason cannot be left within the exclusive jurisdiction of the state that would have control over it under ordinary circumstances (Cassese, 2008). In fact, this definition of the international crime is fundamental in terms of the international humanitarian law and international criminal court and defines the accountability of an individual within the framework of the international humanitarian law and international criminal court. What is meant here is the fact that, if an individual commits a crime that matches the aforementioned definition of the international crime, he/she is likely to undergo the trial and may get sentence from the international criminal court respectively to the crime the individual has committed.

In actuality, international criminal accountability and liability exists at least in relation to war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture (Cryer, 2007). In fact, there may be other crimes that match the definition of the international crime but the four types of crimes mentioned above are particularly grave and serious and often individuals committing those crimes are not aware of their accountability and legal liability for crimes they commit. For instance, often leaders of countries believe they are not responsible or liable to the prosecution of any court because they hold the total control over their country. However, the international humanitarian law and international criminal court limits the seemingly unlimited power of such people. Even if they are leaders of their countries or hold top positions in their country, they are still liable to the legal prosecution under the international humanitarian law and international criminal court. Therefore, if they commit crimes that are under the international humanitarian law and international criminal court jurisdiction, they are likely to face the trial, although the trial may be postponed because individuals cannot be physically delivered to the international criminal court and tried there that is the case of dictators and other leaders and top executors, who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, practice tortures and conduct genocide and stay protected by their army or military groups.

The international criminal court and international humanitarian law expand the individual accountability from the national level to the international one. This means that an individual committing humanitarian crimes or other crimes that are liable to the legal prosecution by international criminal court regardless of the location of the international tribunal and the place, where the crime has been committed. In other words, an individual committing a crime in Sierra Leone, for example, is accountable to the legal prosecution in the UK, for instance, in terms of the international humanitarian law and international criminal court. In such a way, individuals can hardly escape the legal prosecution, even if they feel absolutely secure at their home country. In fact, such accountability is essential because many countries suffer from corruption and authoritarian regimes, where the judicial power is either underdeveloped, or corrupted, or under control of political leaders. As a result, leaders and top-executors cannot undergo trial at their home countries because local courts will not dare to try them. Instead, the international criminal court and international humanitarian law make all individuals equally accountable. This means that any person, who violates the international humanitarian law is liable to the legal prosecution and trial of the international criminal court.

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