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History of the International Criminal Court

In: Historical Events

Submitted By munga
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The establishment of an international tribunal to judge political leaders accused of war crimes was first made during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 by the Commission of Responsibilities. The issue was addressed again at conference held in Geneva under the League of Nations on 1–16 November 1937, but no practical results followed. The United Nations states that the General Assembly first recognized the need for a permanent international court to deal with atrocities of the kind committed during World War II in 1948, following the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals. At the request of the General Assembly, the International Law Commission drafted two statutes by the early 1950s but these were shelved as the Cold War made the establishment of an international criminal court politically unrealistic.
Benjamin B. Ferencz, an investigator of Nazi war crimes after World War II and the Chief Prosecutor for the United States Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, one of the twelve military trials held by the U.S. authorities at Nuremberg, later became a vocal advocate of the establishment of an international rule of law and of an International Criminal Court. In his first book published in 1975, entitled Defining International Aggression-The Search for World Peace, he argued for the establishment of such an international court.
The idea was revived in 1989 when A. N. R. Robinson, then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, proposed the creation of a permanent international court to deal with the illegal drug trade. While work began on a draft statute, the international community established ad hoc tribunals to try war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, further highlighting the need for a permanent international criminal court.
Following years of negotiations, the General Assembly convened a conference in Rome in June 1998, with the aim of finalizing a treaty. On 17 July 1998, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted by a vote of 120 to 7, with 21 countries abstaining. The seven countries that voted against the treaty were China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, United States, and Yemen.
The Rome Statute became a binding treaty on 11 April 2002, when the number of countries that had ratified it reached 60. The Statute legally came into force on 1 July 2002, and the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed after that date .The first bench of 18 judges was elected by an Assembly of States Parties in February 2003. They were sworn in at the inaugural session of the court on 1 March 2003. The court issued its first arrest warrants on 8 July 2005,and the first pre-trial hearings were held in 2006.

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