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What is International Criminal Court?

Big states like the US, Russia, India and China are not members of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Until 2016, all the 9 situations which the ICC had been investigating were in African countries. Thus ICC is under very strong criticism from African nations.

ICC is governed by an international treaty called Rome Statute (1998); resulting in the establishment of ICC in 2002 as the world’s first international criminal court.

Jurisdiction of ICC

  • Genocide
  • War crimes
  • crimes against humanity
  • Crimes of aggression

Since ICC has no retroactive jurisdiction, it deals with cases on or after 1 July 2002.

Objective – To hold those responsible for the crime and to prevent those crimes from happening again.

Members – 124 members’ states.

Criticism of ICC

  • No big states like the US, Russia, China, India, Iraq, and Israel are members of ICC.
  • It has been accused of being a tool of Western Imperialism and biased in favour of powerful countries against weak states.
  • Many crimes committed by major states remain outside the ICC jurisdiction.

Ex. China in Xinjiang district

The USA in the Iraq War

Israel in Palestine

Russia in Ukraine Crime.

  • The unrest ongoing in various countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Hong Kong, Venezuela etc. is directly or indirectly caused by these big states.
  • Palestine, where lakhs-crores of people are living in refugee camps in their own country, was only caused by western countries.
  • Thus, it can be said that refused of major states to join ICC has weakened the objective of a world free from violence.

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But ICC has some other weaknesses also:-

  • ICC does not have its own police or enforcement body.
  • Insufficient checks and balances on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges.
  • ICC cannot impose the Death Sentence.
  • No retrospective jurisdiction.
  • Scarcity of capital and human resources.

Way forward-

  • Cooperation with ICC and human right defences needed.
  • More permanent members of UNSC should be included in ICC.
  • The focus should also be on long term peace, stability and equitable development in post-conflict scenarios.
  • Awareness through seminars and workshops needed.

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A world free from violence can only be realized with the participation and cooperation of all the states. Just forming the International Criminal Court and making laws is not enough. Laws should be implemented properly to ensure justice. As

Law without justice is

wound without a cure

                                       – William Scott Downer

RBI Grade B 2019

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