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Crimes against Humanity
Seeking to improve on what went before

We live in a perhaps hopeful era, when the world appears consciously to seek to improve on what went before. Certainly, where the application of justice to crimes against humanity, is concerned.

In this report on the International Criminal Court such measures are in the very recent past. As attempts to pursue war criminals from WWI, the bloodiest war yet seen on the planet demonstrated, that certainly appeared to be’ victors justice’, and was objectively a failure.

WWII was different. Axis war criminals were identified at an early stage, the Nuremburg and Tokyo Tribunals were set up with war crimes classifications in place: crimes against peace; war crimes; and crimes against humanity -- and defendants were prosecuted and sentenced.

In 1948 the UN picked up the baton and tried to run with it, but the Cold war defeated these efforts and the cause of international justice made no progress. It was the 1990’s, the end of the cold war, with the horrors of atrocities both in Africa, and in Europe with the break-up of Yugoslavia, that persuaded the Security Council to set up ad hoc tribunals, still in existence, to take on these challenges.

From there the 1998 Rome Statute provided for something more formal, an International Criminal Court - the subject of our Associate Editor, Peter Crisell’s essay for NewNations, having now existed for ten years.

Politically it has been a hard march forward, but undoubtedly progress has been made. Of one thing there can be little doubt. This is still a work in progress, but great credit is due to those who not only had the vision but also the tenacity to get past the first decade.
Let us hope that those who follow do not let them down.


The International Criminal Court: Ten Years of Success or Failure?


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Newnations Bulletin, 16 May 2012| New Nations - a not for profit company
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