Prosecuting authors of serious violations of international humanitarian law and having them prosecuted - Reflections on the mission of the International Criminal Tribunals and on the means available to accomplish their tasks
30-06-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 842, by Cyril Laucci
The establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, and the recent adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, are important steps towards ensuring that justice prevails. However, existing and future international criminal courts alone will never be able to try all cases of serious violations of international humanitarian law. Domestic courts have to step in and they must keep their role as the main agents for rendering justice. The rule according to which the ICC’s jurisdiction is a complementary one is wise and also indispensable for guaranteeing the new court’s success. The international courts should actively seek to establish cooperation agreements with national jurisdictions and facilitate the transfer of cases, in particular those of minor importance. In the authors’view the future of criminal justice lies in an invigorated domestic justice system.