International Criminal Court: The Missing Link

While there have been multiple conventions and treaties regarding international humanitarian law designed to protect combatants and noncombatants, the missing link has been an effective legal body to interpret and enforce international law, and to hold individuals criminally responsible for the most serious violations. Following World War II, the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals prosecuted Axis war criminals. Nuremberg established that individuals, as opposed to abstract entities such as a State, could be held accountable for war crimes. However, tribunals have been done on an ad hoc basis, giving the impression of selective prosecution and creating omissions in who has been brought to justice. For example, no one has been tried for the "killing fields" in Cambodia.

Recognizing this limitation, members of the international community worked for over 50 years to establish an International Criminal Court (ICC). The United Nations sponsored the 1998 Conference in Rome that established the framework for the ICC. It was up to individual countries to become signatories to the Rome Statute, thereby proclaiming agreement, and then to ratify the Statute, thus becoming a Party to the ICC. As part of this process, each ICC country develops its own implementing legislation. On April 11, 2002, the Court received the 60th ratification, the number necessary to trigger realization of the ICC.

The U.S. is not a member. George Bush refused to be judged by the ICC and refuses to have any member of the administration to come under it's jurisdiction. Is there any wonder why?

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