Peace and Justice at the International Criminal Court

Peace and Justice at the International Criminal Court

A Court of Last Resort

Errol P. Mendes

This authoritative book addresses the greatest challenge facing the International Criminal Court since its historic establishment in 1998: reconciling the demand for justice for the most serious crimes known to humanity with the promotion of sustainable peace in conflict areas around the world.

Chapter 1: The Court as Offspring of Centuries of Peace with Justice

Errol P. Mendes

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics


JUSTICE MAY BE BRED IN THE BONES OF HUMANKIND BUT PROGRESS IS SLOW The International Criminal Court, which came into operation on July 1, 2002, is the offspring of more than five centuries of humanity struggling to link peace with justice. For that reason it is absurd to pit the Court at the centre of a peace versus justice dilemma. This first chapter will discuss how the lessons of history demonstrate the link between the fight against impunity and the prevention of the most serious international crimes. However, as Chapter 4 will discuss, the concept of prevention discussed in this work does not involve the traditional concepts of specific and general deterrence, but offers up the alternative view of prevention as the creation of a global moral and legal culture that promotes the outlawing of impunity and the accordance of pariah status for those who fall outside this evolving global culture. Even before the modern era of nations and positive domestic and international laws, we have seen in the slow progress of humankind a persistent view that even in the bloodlust of war, there had to be limits to what constitutes a legitimate war and what men in arms could do to both combatants and those not in the furor of battle. The concepts of justice in or for war termed ‘ius in bello’ and ‘ius ad bello’ can be traced to ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and to the teachings in the Old Testament and transformed again in the...

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