One of the major struggles that criminal justice systems all over the world face is equal application of the law and successfully prosecuting crimes of the powerful. Another is going beyond the mere processing of cases and adequately addressing the rights of victims. Both of these issues come into play at the Assembly of State Parties (ASP), which is currently meeting in The Hague for its 12th Assembly.
The ASP is responsible for the oversight and management of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Kenya features prominently in this year's discussion, due to the government's attempts to seek impunity for President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto. Both are facing charges of crimes against humanity for their role in the 2007 post-election violence.
Today being International Justice Day, I wanted to write a post about the International Criminal Court, but in light of the closure of the George Zimmerman trial, I feel that this piece wouldn't be complete without relating the issue of international justice to our own issues of domestic justice.
I am not alone in my disappointment in and sadness of the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. I believe that it demonstrates that the U.S. justice system is flawed, despite its centuries-long evolution and opportunity to reform. That said, public displeasure is a clear signal that our country believes in the principle of justice and wants to see it enforced.
Unfortunately, public interest is often too narrowly focused on domestic issues. However, this does not reduce the importance of ensuring justice for all peoples. Thankfully, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established just over a decade ago in order to administer justice for the world's gravest crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
A guest post by Ronald B. Davis, Special to the BDN
On Wednesday, International Justice Day will be celebrated throughout the world to encourage an emerging system of international criminal justice.
The date, July 17, is the anniversary of the 1998 adoption of the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court, the first permanent international court to prosecute individuals alleged to be responsible for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Through its role in prosecuting individuals, the criminal court is distinct from the International Court of Justice, which settles disputes among nations. Both courts are located at the Hague in the Netherlands.
Why do we celebrate International Justice Day? It's an opportunity to focus attention on what the International Criminal Court has accomplished and on efforts through this emerging system of international justice to prevent the recurrence of the horrendous crimes we read about in the news far too often.
Now that both the Democrats and the Republicans have released their official party platforms for 2012, they can be compared side-by-side. We've done all of the legwork for you and have summarized their main stances on a number of issues. Hyperlinks are included and they will take you to the pertinent section of that party's platform if you want to read the actual text.
Update September 6: Changes made on the floor of the Democratic Convention have resulted in the platform stating that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the status of Jerusalem as an Israeli holding is a condition for any peace talks.
Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp, U.S. Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice, spoke on July 4th in Delft at "A Grotian Moment: The International Criminal Court, The U.S. and The Hague Tradition."
It’s exciting to hear Ambassador Rapp speaking about the U.S. and the ICC at such an event. I hope this signals good things to come for the relationship between the U.S. and the Court and our country’s continued engagement with the ICC.
Watch Ambassador Rapp's speech below:
Between the Rome Statute's 10th Anniversary on July 1 and July 17, International Justice Day, we will be celebrating the accomplishments of the ICC. Send your messages of support for the ICC to U.S. Ambassador Stephen Rapp.
Watch a unique webinar: "A Giant Step Towards 'Never Again:' 10 Years of International Justice."
The webinar was held on Saturday, July 14, 2012 and features a discussion on the International Criminal Court as it celebrates the 10th anniversary since its creation. The webinar speakers include Luis Moreno Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, and Ben Ferencz, professor and former Nuremberg Prosecutor.
We're excited to announce a unique opportunity to join our exclusive webinar, "A Giant Step Towards 'Never Again:' 10 Years of International Justice." The webinar will be held this Saturday at 1:00 PM EST and feature a discussion on the International Criminal Court as it celebrates the 10th anniversary since its creation. The webinar will feature esteemed speakers Luis Moreno Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, and Ben Ferencz, professor and former Nuremberg Prosecutor.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent international judicial body capable of trying individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so. Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002 thereby creating the Court and its ability to prosecute war criminals.
As of April 2012, 121 states are parties to the Statue of the Court and thirty-two others, including the United States, have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. There have been 28 indictments, 20 warrants of arrest, 15 cases brought to the Court, six of which are currently on trial, and 9 successful summonses. The court celebrated a landmark moment when it completed its first trial in March 2012, convicting Thomas Lubanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of using child soldiers.
Today, the International Criminal Court's (ICC) first trial was completed with the sentencing of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to fourteen years in prison. Lubanga, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was found guilty by the Court in March of conscripting child soldiers for use in battle.
This first sentencing is certainly a landmark moment for the ICC. It's good to see the Court complete a trial and ensure that a vicious warlord will be put away, though it's a bit disheartening to see the length of the sentence is shorter than what the ICC Prosecutor had recommended. The prosecution had asked for Lubanga to serve 30 years for his crimes. His sentence is further reduced because the six years he's been in custody will count toward his incarceration, so he will only serve an additional eight years (with the possibility of getting out even sooner due to good behavior).
With all that said, I'm still happy to see some measure of justice done in today's sentencing of Lubanga. I'm proud to see the ICC reach this milestone moment, and I hope this sentence brings some measure of peace to Lubanga's victims and their families. I look forward to a future in which the Court succeeds in putting many other war criminals behind bars where they belong.