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International criminal law is an autonomous branch of law which deals with international crimes and the courts and tribunals set up to adjudicate cases in which persons have incurred international criminal responsibility. It represents a significant departure from 'classical' international law which was mainly considered law created by states for the benefit of states, but tended to ignore the individual as a subject of the law.

Contents

History

Some precedents in international criminal law can be found in the time before the First World War. However, it was only after the war that a truly international criminal tribunal was envisaged to try perpetrators of crimes committed in this period. Thus, the Treaty of Versailles stated that an international tribunal was to be set up to try Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. In the event however, the Kaiser was granted asylum in the Netherlands. After the Second World War, the Allied powers set up an international tribunal to try not only war crimes, but crimes against humanity committed under the Nazi regime. The Nuremberg Tribunal held its first session on 20 November 1945 and pronounced judgments on 30 September / 1 October 1946. A similar tribunal was established for Japanese war crimes (The International Military Tribunal for the Far East). It operated from 1946 to 1948.

After the beginning of the war in Bosnia, the United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993 and, after the genocide in Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994. The International Law Commission had commenced preparatory work for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court in 1993; in 1998, at a Diplomatic Conference in Rome, the Rome Statute establishing the ICC was signed. The ICC issued its first arrest warrants in 2005.

Institutions of international criminal law

Today, the most important institution is the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as several ad hoc tribunals:

Apart from these institutions, some 'hybrid' courts and tribunals exist - judicial bodies in which both international and national judges are represented. They are:

See also

Literature

  • John E. Ackerman and Eugene O'Sullivan, Practice and Procedure of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia with selected materials from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The Hague etc.: Kluwer Law International, 2002, xxi + 555 pp. ISBN 90-411-1478-5
  • Ilias Bantekas, Susan Nash, Mark Mackarel, International Criminal Law. London etc.: Cavendish, 2001, lvi + 323 pp. ISBN 1-85941-557-1
  • Cherif M. Bassiouni, Introduction to International Criminal Law. Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 2003, xxxvi + 823 pp. ISBN 1-57105-286-0
  • Yves Beigbeder, Judging War Criminals. The Politics of International Justice. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999, xvii + 230 pp. ISBN 0-333-68153-3
  • Kriangsak Kittichaisaree, International Criminal Law. Oxford etc.: Oxford University Press, 2002, xxxi + 482 pp. ISBN 0-19-876577-0
  • Hans Köchler, Global Justice or Global Revenge? International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads, Vienna / New York: Springer, 2003, ix + 449 pp. ISBN 3-211-00795-4
  • Helmut Kreicker: Immunität und IStGH: Zur Bedeutung völkerrechtlicher Exemtionen für den Internationalen Strafgerichtshof. In: Zeitschrift für internationale Strafrechtsdogmatik (ZIS), vol 7/2009, available at [1].
  • Helmut Kreicker: Völkerrechtliche Exemtionen: Grundlagen und Grenzen völkerrechtlicher Immunitäten und ihre Wirkungen im Strafrecht. 2 vol., Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-86113-868-6. see for further information [2].
  • Lyal S. Sunga, The Emerging System of International Criminal Law: Developments in Codification and Implementation. Kluwer, 1997, 508 pp. ISBN 90-411-0472-0
  • Lyal S. Sunga, Individual Responsibility in International Law for Serious Human Rights Violations. Nijhoff, 1992, 252 pp. ISBN 0-7923-1453-0
  • Alexander Zahar and Goran Sluiter, International Criminal Law: A Critical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, xlviii + 530 pp. ISBN 978-0-40-695904-1

External links

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