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Effectiveness Of The ICC In The Prosecution Of The International Crimes

All human being are to be free from any harm in the society and no one can take this right from them, in case any person for their selfish behavior violates this rights the said person has to be held accountable for the same; by saying that this article will analyze the effectiveness of the ICC in the prosecution of the international crimes.

In that note the researcher will include the short introduction and the historical background, the researcher will analyze the legal framework and the jurisdiction of the ICC, without forgetting the structure of ICC , the researcher will go further by analyzing notable case laws and that ICC has solved so far, the challenges and criticism, assessment of achievement, and finally the conclusion and future outlook.

Introduction And Historical Background
Imagine a world where justice knows no bounds-a society where those responsible for the most heinous crimes against humanity are brought accountable, regardless of their position or power. This idea underpins the International Criminal Court (ICC), which serves as a light of hope in the pursuit of global justice;

ICC is the acronym of International Criminal Court this is the permanent international tribunal that was established in the year 2002 under the Rome Statue to prosecute individuals for the most serious crimes of international concerns, the crimes that this Court prosecute are genocide Art 6, crime against humanity Art 7, war crimes Art 8(a) and crimes of Aggression (b) as defines in Rome Statue.

ICC court is based in Hague, Netherland and it operates on the principle of complementarity and universality that aims to complement national legal system and achieve universal ratification and participation. The seeds of ICC were firstly planted in the aftermath of World War II a time when the world wanted those who are responsible for such heinous crimes to be held accountable (for example can be seen in the year 1945 to 1946 there was trials such as Nuremberg trial.

While also in the year 1946 to 1948 the Tokyo trial was done, but notable event also took part in the year 1993 and 1994 when Tribunals were formed to prosecute the perpetrators of war in the Yugoslavia and Rwanda respectively known as ICTY and ICTR all these efforts were put forward to make the criminal of war accountable for the crimes thy committed)[1] however it wasn't that easy and it took decades of advocacy, diplomacy and painstaking negotiations to turn this dream to reality. In the year 1998 when the Rome Statue was adopted it laid a foundation for the creation of ICC as the result the ICC came into being in the year 2002.

Legal Framework And Jurisdiction
The International Criminal Court (a beacon of hope) an organ that was put forward to protect the individuals from the most egregious crimes that tear at the fabric of humanity; this court operates under set of principles (Rome statue) aiming to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of Genocide, Crimes against humanity, War crimes, and Crimes aggression;

Rome statue; a document that serves as testament to the collective commitment to uphold the rule of law and protect the human rights, in this document the legal framework of ICC is established, defining the Jurisdiction, Structure And Functions.

Jurisdiction; Article 5 of the Rome statue has given the international criminal court the jurisdiction over four core international crimes such; [2]
  1. Genocide as per article 6 of the Rome statue, this is an act which is committed with an indent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. [3]
  2. Crimes against humanity as per article 7 of the Rome statue, this is a widespread or systematic attack against civilian including murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, torture, rape, or other inhumane acts. [4]
  3. War crimes as per article 8(a) of the Rome statue, this involves the serious violation of the laws and customs of war, including targeting civilians, using child soldiers, and even intentionally attacking humanitarian personnel or objects. [5]
  4. Crimes of aggression as per article 8(b) of Rome statue, it has clearly stated that this involves the use of armed forces by a state against the sovereignty, integrity, or political independence of the other state. [6]
  5. Complementarily; This principle simply gives the states the primary responsibility to prosecute the crimes that are committed with global concern, but in case the states are not ready or unwilling to prosecute those crimes, then the ICC will intervene and prosecute those crimes. [7]

Jurisdiction limitation; the international criminal court is limited to certain aspects such as:
  1. Temporal jurisdiction in which the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed after 2002 the date in which the Rome statue entered into force.
  2. Territorial jurisdiction, the ICC has only jurisdiction to prosecute the crimes to the territory of state party to the Rome statue.
  3. Personal jurisdiction the ICC the jurisdiction over individual and nor states and for that it can prosecute individuals who are accused of committing crimes within its jurisdiction, regardless of its official capacity or nationality.[8]

Structure Of The ICC

>The international court of justice ICC that was came into existence in the year 2002 was structured in a such was that it will provide effective functioning as a judicial institution in the prosecution of the individual for the most serious international crimes, And here below is the explanation of the of the International criminal court

  • Presidency: The presidency comprises of 3 judges that are elected by their peers for the term of three years, the president has the responsibility of representing ICC externally, overseeing judicial activities and managing the administration of the court. The presidency plays a crucial role in ensuring the efficient operation of the ICC and upholding its independency and impartiality.[9]
  • Chambers: Chambers comprises of the pretrial chambers, trial chambers and appeals chambers and their main function is to adjudicate cases brought and ensure fair trial proceedings and delivering judgment as well as sentencing.[10]
  • Office of prosecutor: This office is headed by the chief prosecutor who is elected by the assembly of states for a period of 9 years, the office of prosecutor has the function of conducting investigation and the prosecution of individuals accused of committing international crimes.[11]
  • Registry: This plays a crucial role by providing administrative and logistics support to the chambers and the office of the prosecutors, it has the responsibility of managing day to day operation of court such as court management. The head of the register is registrar who id appointed by the judge for the period of 5years and they act as the principal administrative officer of the ICC.[12]
  • Assembly of state parties: This body comprises of the representatives of the states that have been ratified by the Rome statue, this body serves as governing body of the ICC and its responsible for making key decisions regarding the administration, budget and overall policy direction of the court. [13]The ASP meets annually to discuss issues related to ICC's functioning and to adopt resolutions and decisions to guide its work[14]

Case Laws
The international criminal court so far has solved numerous of international crimes and here the researcher will highlight some of the case laws that were heard by the ICC;
  • Thomas Lubanga Dyilo:
    A military leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a founder Union Congolese Patriots (UPC); He was accused of recruiting and using child soldiers in the armed conflict during the Ituri conflict in the early 2000s. This case marked an important historical moment as it was a first case that ICC conducted after it was formed in the year 2002. The ICC held Lubanga guilty for the crimes of conscription, the use of child soldier under the age of 15 and was sentenced 15 years in prison thou later was reduces to 13 years. In this judgment it highlighted the importance of individual criminal responsibility[15]
  • Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo:
    A Politian and former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo who he led a movement for the liberation of Congo, Bemba was accused of war of crimes against humanity committed by his troops in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003 and those crimes included murder, rape, and pillaging.

    This case by ICC marked an important history as it held military commander responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates, particularly in the context of sexual violence and for that Bemba was found guilty in 2016 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. This conviction was later upheld on appeal, although his sentence was reduced to time served.[16]
  • Ahmad Al Faqi Mahdi:
    Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was a member of Ansar Dine, an Islamist group in Mali that occupied Timbuktu in 2012. He was accused of leading the destruction of cultural heritage sites in the ancient city, including mausoleums and mosques; The case against Al Mahdi was significant as it marked the first time that the ICC prosecuted an individual solely for the destruction of cultural heritage sites, recognizing the importance of preserving cultural heritage as part of humanity's shared heritage, Al Mahdi pleaded guilty to the charges of intentionally directing attacks against historic monuments and religious buildings in Timbuktu. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2016, which he is serving in Mali under a sentence enforcement arrangement with the ICC.[17]

Challenges Faced By The ICC.

Although the ICC plays vital role in the prosecution of criminal of international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crime and crimes of aggression but still they face some challenges such as;[18]

Limited jurisdiction; the ICC have no any authority to prosecute any crime that took place before 2002, the time when the ICC was formed that making the international crimes that took place before 2002 go unaddressed making the criminals unaccountable and infringing the victims' rights.[19]

The other challenge is the limited enforcement power and lack of universal participation, ICC depends on the cooperation of the states to prosecute the criminals In the enforcement of the arrest, warrant and sentences but the problem arises when the states are not ready to cooperate with ICC and even withdraw from the Rome statue that's hindering the effectiveness of the ICC[20].

Another challenge is that sometimes the ICC faces the political pressure and interference; the ICC works intersect with geopolitics. And for that the ICC investigation and prosecution may be pressured by the political leaders of that said states and sometimes the states may hinder the investigation by hiding their citizen so that they won't go under the prosecution that was initiated by the ICC, making the court fail to make the criminal accountable for the crimes they committed.[21]

Assessment Of The Achievement
Upon all the challenges that the ICC are facing in the prosecution of the perpetrators of the international crimes still the court is playing a crucial role in combating the impunity for the most heinous international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crimes of aggression. By making the criminal accountable for the crimes committed.

Sa far the ICC has achieved to bring perpetrators to justice, the ICC has prosecuted the individual for the heinous crimes including Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the Crimes of aggression, in the case of Thomas Lubanga[22], ICC is seen to make accountable the commander for recruiting child soldier and he was punished to 14 years in the prison, but also ICC is seen to held accountable Jean pierre for the crimes against humanity such as rape and murder, another case solved by ICC was the Germain Katanga[23] who was a military leader was held accountable for crimes against humanity including murders, pillaging and using child soldier.[24]

Another achievement made by the ICC is the giving voice to the victims, ICC has played a great role by making the victims participate in the proceedings and also victims to seek reparations, and this makes the victims to voice out and claim dignity and agency.[25]

Furthermore the ICC has raised the awareness of the international crimes and the importance of the individual accountability among the movements and even the general public; also through the prospect of facing prosecution before an international tribunal it deter the perpetrators from committing future crimes and that contributing to the promotion the rights and the rule of law. [26]

Conclusion And Future Outlook
The path of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a significant chapter in humanity's unending pursuit for justice, accountability, and human rights. Despite encountering enormous hurdles, the ICC has made significant progress in its goal to bring perpetrators of the most heinous international crimes accountable and to provide a forum for victims to seek retribution and reconciliation.

The ICC's mission is focused on the numerous people whose lives have been broken by atrocities such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. For these survivors, the ICC is a light of hope, a guarantee that their suffering will not be forgotten or ignored, and that those responsible for their misery will face justice. The ICC's investigations, convictions, and verdicts have provided victims and their families with a sense of closure and justice, helping them to reclaim their dignity and begin the healing and reconciliation process, however, the ICC's journey has been fraught with severe hurdles and criticism, which threaten to undermine its efficacy and legitimacy.

Political intervention from powerful states, budget restrictions, and claims of bias and selectivity has all hampered the International Criminal Court's capacity to carry out its mandate; these problems underline the ICC's complex geopolitical realities and emphasize the necessity for coordinated measures to strengthen the Court's independence, impartiality, and effectiveness.

The future picture for the ICC is both hopeful and uncertain. On the one hand, there is a rising realization of the necessity of accountability for international crimes, and the call for justice continues to be strong among impacted communities and the international community as whole. Empowered victims' movements and civil society organizations have arisen as powerful voices, pushing for justice and accountability while holding governments and international institutions accountable for their acts; however, the ICC has severe obstacles that must be resolved in order to properly carry out its mandate.

Resource restrictions, political meddling, and the complexities of international conflicts all pose substantial challenges to the ICC's ability to administer justice. Addressing these problems will necessitate ongoing commitment and collaboration from member states, as well as novel measures to improving the ICC's efficiency, effectiveness, and impact.

And finally, the International Criminal Court's journey is said to have exemplifies the long-standing struggle for justice and responsibility in the face of hardship. Despite the challenges it encounters, the International Criminal Court remains committed to preserving international law principles and fostering a world free of impunity and where every voice is heard. As the ICC continues its work, it must stay loyal to its mandate and try to be a source of hope and healing for victims of atrocities around the world.

  1. visited on 15 February 2024
  2. Article 5 of the Rome statues
  3. Article 6 of the Rome statues
  4. Article 7 of the Rome statues
  5. Article 8(a) of the role statues
  6. Article 8(b) of the Rome statues
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  11. IBID
  12. IBID
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