Peace and Justice at the International Criminal Court
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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.
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Chapter 4: Reconciling Peace with Justice in the ICC through Positive International Complementarity

Errol P. Mendes


The legitimacy and the credibility of the ICC depend on the development of what can be termed ‘positive international complementarity’ (PIC) as the way to reconcile peace with justice, not only at the ICC, but also in the international community. What is meant by PIC is a framework that requires nations afflicted by actions constituting international crimes and all nations, and not only the ICC, to be the champions of the fight against impunity and to ensure that the most serious crimes do not go unpunished. To have a reconciliation of peace and justice worldwide a PIC framework must have the following key features: (1) The ICC focuses on situations that give rise to the most serious of international crimes where investigations lead to the prosecution of those most responsible. The initial goal of such investigations and potential jurisprudence coming out of the trials of such crimes should be to maximize prevention of future crimes while also potentially acting as a catalyst for domestic investigations and proceedings. Such advances in domestic criminal law are critical to maintaining the ICC as a court of last resort. Exceptional situations in which either leaders or others further down the hierarchy of groups that are alleged to have committed the most serious international crimes face either fair domestic prosecutions if available or alternative justice mechanisms (AJMs) that meet the moral and philosophical foundations of international criminal justice. Where those who are alleged to have committed the most serious crimes are discovered or seek refuge...

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