LAW 465

Prospects for International Justice


Criminal Justice, Human Rights, International Law

Prosecutions of the most serious international crimes through international criminal tribunals and national courts have emerged as a visible yet uneven force on the global landscape. At the International Criminal Court (ICC), envisioned to be the centerpiece of a “system” of international justice, there have been notable performance failings. However, with a new Prosecutor and President as well as the benefit of a Court-initiated Independent Expert Review, there is an opportunity for meaningful change.

The course will examine some of the key lessons arising from the ICC efforts to render justice for crimes that shocked the conscience of humankind. Through examining recent case law and practice, we will seek to better understand the progress, problems as well as prospects for the ICC. We will explore some of the underlying problems and how this permanent Court can manage the challenges it is facing.
To examine these essential issues, the readings and class discussion will draw on aspects of the jurisprudence of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal (ICTY) and practice. In class, with an eye to drawing lessons for the ICC’s experience in bringing justice for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, we will zero in on several key issues.

Specifically, we will explore

    * the ICC's mode of establishment (a multilateral treaty negotiation),
    * some of the substantive crimes within its subject matter jurisdiction (genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes),
    * theories of individual criminal liability (command responsibility; aiding and abetting) by which the Prosecutor attempts to link accused with crimes,
    * expediting very lengthy proceedings and
    * securing the arrest of suspects.

Students will be expected to weigh the relevant statutory provisions, rules of procedure, pertinent case law and history with a focus on the implications for the future of the ICC. We will also refer to  the findings and recommendations of the important Independent Expert Review.  

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