This body (International Criminal Court) represents no one. It is a political body. There are quite a few countries that also think there is no justification for this body’s existence. Critically evaluate the given statement. How does ICC differ from ICJ? (200 Words)

There is a wide difference between ICJ and ICC, which makes ICC a dwarf body in International Politics.
Features of International Court of Justice – ICJ
  1. It is the primary judicial branch of United Nations and settles legal disputes and provides advisory opinions submitted to it by its member states. ICJ is a civil court.
  2. UNSC enforces its court‘s rulings.
  3. International Court of Justice is one of the most important guarantors of peace, security and co-operation among states.
  4. Funded by UNGA, all UN members are also member of ICJ.
Features of International Criminal Court – ICC
  1. It was set up after the ad hoc tribunals to deal with Rwanda war crimes proved ineffective. ICC is a criminal court. But most nations are not a signatory to ICC including India, China, USA, Russia.
  2. ICC is based on the principle of complementarities. ICC was not created to supplant the authority of national courts. However, when a state‘s legal system collapses or when a government is a perpetrator of heinous crimes, the ICC can exercise jurisdiction. ICC is a court of last resort.
  3. ICC ensures that those who commit serious human rights violations are held accountable. Justice helps promote lasting peace, enables victims to rebuild their lives and sends a strong message that perpetrators of serious international crimes will not go unpunished.
  4. Funded by contribution from state parties to the Rome Statute; voluntary contributions from the U.N; voluntary contributions from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.
From above mentioned differences it believed that ICC ruling are not binding on any state except parties, while UNSC is bound to judgement of ICJ. Thus there is wider scrutiny of ICJ then ICC. So, importance of ICC for many countries is not visible.
Recently ICC decided to open a preliminary examination of alleged war crimes committed during Israel’s military offensive on Gaza in June 2014. This decision of the ICC follows Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute earlier this month and its acceptance of the jurisdiction of the ICC over crimes committed “in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014”.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well as Hamas have welcomed this move, while Israel, which has signed but not ratified the Rome Statute, has strongly denounced it.
Some of the points of criticism against the ICC are in fact valid.
  • These are that the juridical nature of the ICC tends to hinder the peace process rather than build it, and that with an arguably grim record the Court has been ineffective and slow in investigating crimes.
  • Also, Israel claims to be fighting the war against Hamas that it considers a terrorist organisation; so the move of the ICC, it argues, amounts to an absurdity.
Such reasons, although partly true, still do not trump the need for an international criminal justice system to adjudicate war crimes.
  • First, the role of the ICC must be clearly understood. The ICC is not meant to be a political body mediating a peace process; it is envisaged as a judicial body meant to end impunity and hold accountable those who have committed the gravest of crimes. Given this, even if the ICC may harm a peace process, which in the case of Israel-Palestine is anyway in deadlock, the politics of peace cannot prevail over justice, accountability for heinous crimes, and the upholding of dignity, women’s rights and other human rights.
  • Second, even if the ICC is a slow and ineffective mechanism, holding those responsible for human rights violations in war crimes is necessary.
  • Third, the investigation is against any person who may have committed war crimes during the conflict. So, both Hamas and Israel would be under the ICC’s investigation.
A fresh appeal to the Security Council has been made to refer the Islamic State to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute it for its crime against humanity. Examine the structure and mandate of ICC and explain why referring to it cases such as Islamic State’s crimes is sought for. (200 Words)
International Criminal Court (ICC) is the permanent, treaty-based (Rome Statute) court of last resort for handling charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. As an independent intergovernmental organization currently having 123 state parties, its legislative body Assembly of State Parties has representatives from each of these states.
Structure: ICC has 4 principal divisions:
  1. Presidency – senior most judge chosen by peers in Judicial Division that hears cases before the Court,
  2. Judicial Division
  3. Office of Prosecutor – investigates crimes and initiates proceedings against judicial division.
  4. Registry – for administrative functions of ICC.
As for Islamic State, its brutality and ruthless killings in Iraq and Syria has led to voices in support of resolution of such cases through ICC. Its inhuman atrocities like:
  • Purging of ethnic groups like Yazidis,
  • Beheading of journalists and aid-workers,
  • Executions, rapes, forced conversions, torture,
  • Systematic destruction of historic shrines.
As all these acts come under categories of cultural genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, it demands swift action from the ICC, which on its part, also needs to shed its image of being biased against Africa and gain wider legitimacy.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top