When the relevance or, practice of international tribunals is impugned their tendency often is to resort to ‘vivere-existential reflexes’. This habit can incubate conflict between the particular tribunal and the requirements of General Principles of Law recognized by civilized nations. This risks disunity between international law, supranational law and domestic law. This article examines the International Criminal Court’s (icc) application and interpretation of Article 87 of the Rome Statute (1998) under the light of nemo judex in parte sua – a general principle of law recognized by civilized nations. The article recommends that an observatory for monitoring International Tribunals’ compliance with general principles of law recognized by civilized nations should be established and a database on non-compliance should be developed and maintained. This should check practice of international tribunals for consistency with general principles of law recognized by civilized nations in a manner that promotes the integrity of international law.
Benedict Abrahamson Chigara
Ernst Hirsch Ballin
International criminal justice, and in particular the icc, has been overburdened by the unrestrained idealism underlying the ambitions inscribed in its fundaments. However, the resulting acts of legal development have not been without value. On the contrary, it is only when idealism sharpens our view on reality that progress can be achieved. Striving to gradually strengthen international criminal justice is therefore worthwhile. Our best bet is to seek to understand where shortcomings in the existing system are grist to the mill for cynicism and to look for opportunities to make international criminal justice more credible in the eyes of victim populations. The question of how much criminal justice the world can afford is the wrong question to ask. Rather, we should be asking whether the international community, if it is still concerned about establishing trust and peace among nations, can afford to do away with international criminal justice.
This article examines whether victims can claim rights of their own before international criminal courts. These courts remain divided on the role of victims. Even when they allow victims to participate and claim reparation, it is a restricted participation. Before the icc victims have a third-party role, being merely additional to the procedure. What’s more victims are treated collectively. They are assigned a collective representative, their right to choose legal counsel thus not being an absolute right. Due to the high number of victims and with an apparent wish to bring as many victims as possible in the procedure, also reparations are granted collectively. Reparations are provided to victims and communities even if they have not applied for reparations, setting aside individual claims. The result is that victims are the target of reparation, they are treated as objects rather than subjects who can demand a remedy.