The international criminal court : is it a deterrent to international crimes?
The International Criminal Court (hereinafter ICC) is a new permanent international judicial tribunal which plays an important role in combating international crimes and dispensing justice. It was established in 1998 by the international community after much effort and compromise. It is designed to be an independent international body, with the autonomy to determine its budget and control its funding. This study discusses how the ICC acts as a mechanism to create a nexus between international criminal and humanitarian law by prosecuting crimes like genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, that fall within its jurisdiction. The study seeks to show that the international jurisdiction of the ICC is a potential safeguard against arbitrary national criminal procedures in respect of those who are accused of committing serious international crimes. The ICC's jurisdiction is complementary to that of national courts that are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute these crimes. National judicial systems are still required to play a primary role in combating international crimes and it is important that states, organisations and individuals assist the ICC if it is to become an effective deterrent to perpetrators of international crimes. The rationale behind the ICC's establishment is that the international community is under a legal obligation to prosecute violations of international law in either national or international courts. The study also analyses the role of the ICC in balancing the rights of the victims and the rights of the accused by applying the guarantees and safeguards for conducting fair trials set out in the Rome Treaty. In this way, it seeks to show that prosecuting and punishing perpetrators of international crimes is an important contributing factor in the creation of a human rights' culture, while also serving as a deterrent to prospective violators of international human rights and humanitarian law.
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