International Criminal Court

A review of international criminal jurisdictions

This contribution does not purport to examine the international criminal jurisdictions nor their case law from a technical standpoint. It is more a paper on legal policy. Nearly two decades after the first special international criminal tribunals were established and nearly a decade after the Rome Statute setting up the International Criminal Court came into force, various general questions are posed about them. These questions of principle are important enough for us to observe from the outset that international criminal jurisdictions have not yet secured their place among the galaxy of international organizations nor consolidated the way in which they are instituted.In what context and why have these instances been set up? What are they all about? Why is there more than one jurisdiction and what characteristics and significant differences arise from comparing them — for it is common knowledge that there is no coherent whole nor any single international criminal law system but on the contrary separate, independent and somewhat disparate jurisdictions? What are the limits or weak points they all share? What use is criminal prosecution and what can be expected of it? Lastly what is to be made of these jurisdictions overall and what possible future is there for them? More broadly what alternatives can be contemplated so they can better fulfil the functions ascribed to them?