International Criminal Court (8/00)

"The International Criminal Court promises, at last, to supply what has for so long been the missing link in the international legal system, a permanent court to judge the crimes of gravest concern to the international community as a whole:  genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes."   – KOfi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations

The Washington and Seattle demonstrations have shown the need for radical reform, for justice to oppressed peoples, and judgment on the institutions that cause the global proliferation of human misery and environmental decimation.  The International Criminal Court will investigate and prosecute violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and environmental destruction as part of war crimes. Although the US has not yet endorsed the formation of the ICC American policy makers need to hear the voice of their constituency that claims for global justice.

Formation of the ICC is supported by most members of the United Nations, and most countries of the world. Most countries ratify the ICC Statute, these countries will have jurisdiction of the court, and the tyrants and their accomplices will have no places to escape to.

Need for the ICC

"Never again" was the communal vow after World War II; the world must never see another Holocaust. Yet 50 years later, war in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the death of Pol Pot before he was tried for his crimes, all demonstrate that the global community has failed to uphold its promise.  Warlords and dictators plan and commit mass rapes, extrajudicial executions, and other gross violations of international human rights with almost total impunity. An estimated 14 million civilians have died in war-related deaths since Nuremberg.

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization are entwined with ruling bodies and governing institutions that accept increasing debt in poor countries.  Loans are made to already impoverished nations with conditions of economic "restructuring" that remove government subsidies for education, health, basic utilities, and increase debt burden on nations already unable to repay existing loans. Funds given to governing bodies often remain in the hands of ruling parties as corruption channels foreign aid away from the needy and poor. Although the ICC has not been designed to try corporations but individuals, it is part of a worldwide effort to strengthen the role of law and protocol the rights of individuals, communities and countries.

Only by holding individuals accountable for violations of international law will the global community be able to deal effectively with the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.  This is crucial both to aid present victims and to deter future criminals.

The ICC needs 60 countries to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; it has 96 signatories, but only 8 ratifications. In countries where no courts exist that are capable of dealing with individuals violating international humanitarian law, an ICC could step in. Such a court could deter future dictators from killing their own citizens, or from accepting odious loans.  The inability to control these atrocities gives rise to social unrest; the cycles of violence continue so long as the people involved feel that justice has not been served.

Jubilee 2000-NY calls for debt cancellation to poor countries and the formation of the International Criminal Court. For more information contact the Coalition for an International Criminal Court at 212-687-2176 and visit our web site, and