Clarification regarding International Courts.

Clarification regarding International Courts.

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May 30, 2006

I’ve been wondering about this for quite some time now, but never took the time to seriously look at the various international courts, their roles, whether or not people can submit cases to them, etc.

Since Carver brought it up recently, I thought we should open it up for discussion

International Criminal Court

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as defined by several international agreements, most prominently the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The ICC is designed to complement existing national judicial systems; however, the Court can exercise its jurisdiction if national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes, thus being a “court of last resort,” leaving the primary responsibility to exercise jurisdiction over alleged criminals to individual states.

Development of the ICC
Almost all states participating voted in favor of the statute; the United States joined Israel, People’s Republic of China, Iraq, Qatar, Libya and Yemen in voting against it. Initially, the United States under Bill Clinton signed the treaty but never submitted it for ratification. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, he nullified the signature amid bipartisan consensus on the matter.

The Rome Statute became a binding treaty at the moment 60 states had ratified it, an event ceremonialized at the United Nations Headquarters on 11 April 2002. Ten countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ireland, Jordan, Mongolia, Niger, Romania and Slovakia) submitted their ratifications at this time, bringing the total to 66, so that no one nation would hold the honor of depositing the 60th ratification. As of October 2005, 100 States are Parties to the Statute. The ICC legally came into existence on 1 July 2002 and can only prosecute crimes that occurred after this date.

The International Court of Justice
Adrian Jones, McMaster University

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), replacing the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) in 1946. It is located at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. The ICJ operates under the Statute of the International Court of Justice, an integral component of the UN Charter. It has two primary functions: (1) to settle disputes between states in accordance with international law and (2) to provide advisory opinions to other UN organs (such as the Security Council) and specialized agencies (such as the International Labour Organization).

The ICJ is composed of fifteen elected and independent judges, selected to reflect the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world. Judges do not represent their respective governments but are independent magistrates (officers of the court). Only states may access the ICJ*, and they must consent to its jurisdiction. In this and other fundamental respects, the ICJ is distinct from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Its jurisdiction comprises all matters provided for in the UN Charter or in international treaties. The ICJ has delivered judgments concerning land frontiers, diplomatic relations, and nationality of persons. Judgments are final and without appeal.

The ICJ is intended to provide a peaceful settlement of disputes, reflecting a central purpose of the UN to maintain international peace and security. The UN requires states to resolve disputes through the ICJ or other peaceful means of their own choice (such as negotiation and arbitration). Large-scale warfare is potentially catastrophic in an era of unprecedented global military capabilities, the ICJ significantly contributes to the global legal order as a vital guardian of fundamental UN values.

*A state is a set of institutions that possess the authority to make the rules that govern a society, having internal and external sovereignty over a definite territory.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is an autonomous judicial institution based in the city of San José, Costa Rica. Together with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, it makes up the human rights protection system of the Organization of American States (OAS), which serves to uphold and promote basic rights and freedoms in the Americas.

A state party must voluntary submit to the Court’s jurisdiction for it to be competent to hear a case involving that state. Acceptance of contentious jurisdiction can be given on a blanket basis – to date, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela have done so – or, alternatively, a state can agree to abide by the Court’s jurisdiction in a specific, individual case.)

There are other courts around the world but the same theme is present, or they simply don’t have jurisdiction beyond a set limit – for example, there are several tribunals set up specifically for the Genocides in Rwanada and Yugoslavia. If the Indigenous People were to seek justice in matters regarding historical crimes of genocide, we would either have to become a state, or get a tribunal set up – but that will no way offer the opportunity for justice since Canada and the US will most certainly reserve the right to not acknowledge any ruling against them.

International Justice!


May 31, from dereklane: The ICC, ICJ, ICT et al are all set up ostensibly to provide international justice but in reality to provide international justice to enemies/scapegoats of the West (those who rule the world).

Despite numerous attempts from several organisations for bringing Blair to trial at the ICC (including at least one attempt to take the case through the high court here in Britain) for the supreme international crime of aggression (invading Iraq), nothing has come of it. This despite prima facie evidence that the world knows he sent troops in against the word of Kofi Annan that such a war would be illegal. If it doesn’t work for countries who *have* ratified the agreement (which the UK has), then what hope has such international law for bringing justice in cases where the agreements have not been ratified?

In the words of one of the convicted at the Nuremburg Trials – this is victor’s justice. (churchill for example, wasn’t convicted for the dresden bombing, even though the body of those laws made killing civilians as a war tactic illegal).

Victor’s justice will not help the oppressed.



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