International Crime -Crimes against Humanity • Using the case study of Srebrenica, evaluate the effectiveness of international and domestic legal systems in dealing with crimes against the international community International laws and mechanisms to deal with international crime are vast in number. They aid in promoting common moral and ethical standards to be administered worldwide. Tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) have provided a mechanism to deal with international crime.
Collaborations of member countries allow these Courts to implement certain justice, but the limitations and ineffectiveness is highlighted when breaches of their administration occur leading to miscarriage of justice for victims, offenders and society. The International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court has been a legal mechanism which deals with international crime and which has had varying effectiveness. The ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court and 111 countries have ratified its Rome Statute.
The media article “Effectiveness of ICC without US Support”, Radio Netherlands, 18 June 2009, argues that, even though major powers like India, China and Russia are still not party to the Rome Statue of 2002, the Court has at least managed to put an end to those who may have otherwise escaped punishment from crimes against humanity. Steven Freeland’s article “Eradicating Evil is on Trial”, The Australian, 2008, highlights the fact that without the ICC and other international tribunals, many thousands of victims and their families would receive no justice at all.
However the ICC has limited effectiveness due to its limited ability to enforce international law. One aspect that hinders the effectiveness is the fact that the ICC and other international tribunals have no police force and are reliant on states to arrest indicted victims and bring them before the appropriate court. Without the political will to cooperate in this process the court’s effectiveness is limited.
The arrest warrants issued by the ICC against President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan for genocide committed in Darfur, and Bashir’s ongoing contempt for them, are an example of the limitations of international courts in failing to provide justice. Al Bashir’s warrant is the first issued against a sitting head of state, however states lack the necessary will to ensure he is brought to the court. The ineffectiveness is also evident as the court’s warrant lacks enforceability.
Further, the Court has only convicted one person during its ten years of operations, Thomas Lubanga, who was jailed for 14 years for recruiting child soldiers, as per the article “Congolese Warlord Sentenced for 14 Years” News Africa, 10 July 2012. The fact that the Court has arrested only six people and convicted one illustrates the struggles the court faces in delivering justice. The International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) International courts are often criticised for being ineffective due to their lack of enforcement.
However, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia reflects an increase in effectiveness. The ICTY is effective as it delivers justice when there is non-compliance of international law. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 20 July 2011, the last remaining fugitive, Goran Hadzic, was arrested by the war crimes tribunal, however it took 18 years to send him to trial. According to the ICTY’s website accessed February 2012, the Tribunal has indicted 161 persons for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
Of this number, 64 have been sentenced, 13 referred to other jurisdictions and 35 proceedings are ongoing. An example of a sentence which provided justice was when Milan Lukic received life imprisonment. The ICTY is effective as it is effective in delivering justice to offenders, though this has taken years to achieve and is ongoing. Domestic legal systems have been intermittently effective in dealing with crimes against the international community. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, September 2011, the Australian government extradited the accused war criminal Dragan Vasiljkovic to the Tribunal, despite his efforts to block deportation.
However, the Sydney Morning Herald article “See No Evil is Australia’s Way on War Crimes”, October 2011, contrasts the poor performance on the David Hicks affair and argues that Australia has an inconsistent approach to dealing with international crime. Further, the ruling of the Dutch Court in July 2011 that the Netherlands was responsible for the deaths at Srebrenica is a landmark decision that countries contributing to peacekeeping can be held accountable for their actions. Therefore domestic legal systems can be effective in dealing with international crime.
The ICTY is effective as it has delivered judgments which promote justice for individuals and society. A landmark ruling of the court was when it ruled mass rape in the time of war a crime against humanity, the first time a court had made such a ruling. As reported in The Guardian newspaper on 23 February 2001, this ruling gave hope to thousands of women abused in times of war. The Court is effective has it reflects moral and ethical standards. The ICTY is effective as it is promotes access to justice for individuals.
The Court has a victims and witness section which provides meals and accommodation to witnesses. It also has a translation department and its own legal aid system. Many accused cannot afford legal counsel to gain a fair trial and, according to the ICTY website accessed February 2012, Legal aid accounts for 11% of the tribunal’s budget. Whilst these funds have promoted justice for individuals and victims, a factor which weakens the Tribunal’s effectiveness is that of resource efficiency as the court cost nearly $301 million to operate in the 2011-12 year.
Conclusion The ICC and the ICTY are examples of mechanisms which protect the rights of individuals. International Courts however rely on the cooperation of nation states to ensure accused are brought to justice. Limitations such as government sovereignty and a lack of enforceability means that after the war crime, justice may not be achieved in a timely manner (such as in the Srebrenica case). The ICC and the ICTY are therefore mechanisms which vary in their effectiveness in providing justice.