Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Bartram S. Brown
Since the 1993 creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) international law has been applied, as rarely before, to hold individuals directly accountable for their criminal acts. The ICTY and its sister institution the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) have brought perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice, and a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC), recently established by treaty, is working on its first cases. Some, including many West European governments, trumpet these developments as inevitable and long overdue in today’s increasingly globalized and inter-dependent world. Others, especially within the US government, are concerned that independent and effective norms and institutions of international criminal law could undermine both state sovereignty and national security. The United States has never accepted the ICC Treaty, and for that reason alone the appropriate balance between the jurisdiction of national courts and of international criminal courts remains a matter of some controversy. Although the ICC has been successfully established, its fate has not been fully determined. It faces cross-cutting pressures. It is expected to act effectively and yet to be scrupulously fair and impartial with regard both to the individuals being investigated and also concerning any countries whose legitimate interests may be implicated. The practice and experience of the next several years should define the direction of things to come. The ICC may grow into a strong pillar of the international community, or it may wither into ineffectiveness. Whatever the fate of the ICC, new alternative...