International Criminal Court: An Effective Guarantee For Justice

International Criminal Court: An Effective Guarantee For Justice

Is there any order and justice in this world? While this might be an expression of prosaism, it’s still justifiable. When we read the daily news, we are barraged by horrible outrages: deaths, atrocities, bombings, fear-based oppression, abuse of force and so on. By the day’s end, we may ask ourselves, in what capacity would we be able to make this world more peaceful? The answer lies with the International Criminal Court (ICC) which was constituted with the objective to provide to justice. It intends to bring order and justice in the society which is the need of the hour. The ICC has been formed to bring order and justice and prosecute the individuals who are accused of having committed war crimes, genocide and various wrongdoings against humankind. In any case, this court is seen as a beacon of hope by many countries even when all other venues and forums fail to provide justice. It is, however, pertinent to mention here that ICC can only exercise jurisdiction over the states (and their nationals) who have ratified the Rome Statute. Despite this limitation, the ICC has been hailed by some as an essential guarantee for justice and human rights and it has also been considered an effective means of order and justice due to following reasons:

Strengthening international humanitarian law

The ICC has codified norms and principles of international humanitarian law that have been widely accepted since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, in the process providing the most authoritative and detailed definitions of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes currently available. By comparison with the system of ad hoc tribunals, the ICC brings a much needed coherence to the process of enforcement, and also by keeping the Security Council interference to a minimum, it (potentially) prevents the P-5 from exempting themselves from their responsibilities.

Tackling the global justice gap

The global justice gap condemns millions of people to abuse and oppression either because of the repressive policies of their own governments or because of their government’s unwillingness or inability to prevent gross human rights violations. The ICC has been designed specifically to address this problem, providing the basis for external intervention when internal remedies are unavailable. This task has nevertheless been put in jeopardy by a collection of powerful countries that are unwilling to fully sign up for the ICC, either because they want to protect their own military freedom of manoeuvre, or in order to shield allies from criticism. This amounts to a serious failure of global leadership.

Deterring future atrocities

The aim of the ICC since its inception in 2002 is not merely to prosecute crimes that have been committed, but also to shape the future behaviour of political and military leaders throughout the world. In this view, atrocities occur, in part, because leaders believe that their actions will go unpunished. The significance of the trials of heads of government is that they demonstrate that this may not be the case in future. No leader is now above international humanitarian law.

Today, the International Criminal Court is still extremely dominant in the worldly affairs. It is in real sense a valid institution with the greatest aim to ensure a more just and peaceful world. This institution can be extremely effective if all global powers equally participate and stand accountable.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any organization with which she might be associated.

Sana Akhter

Author: Sana Akhter

The writer is a law student at Punjab University Law College and is a Member of PILDAT Youth Parliament Pakistan.