Paris: Was the first decade of the ICC a more just one?

By: /
16 April, 2012

Because the ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court, it has had to establish itself as an institution to be reckoned with globally. I think the first prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, will be remembered for having created a strong profile for the tribunal and for having secured the support of the Security Council.

Was the decade a more just one? It would take more than a few words to parse that adequately. The ICC is structurally flawed: it has no police force and is dependent upon its states parties to deliver indicted individuals. It is a judicial institution operating in a seething political environment. These realities mean that some powerful indictees, like Sudan’s al-Bashir, are still at large and publicly flouting the court. I think the tribunal will always be controversial; in fact, high decibel levels of opposition probably indicate its growing influence. Securing a conviction at the Lubanga trial did set a precedent about the use of children in war and certainly sent out a message about accountability. Justice after a decade of the ICC remains frail and partial, but the trend is positive. The next several years will be critical.