To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
The panel of speakers included Professor Margaret M. deGuzman, who is a professor of criminal law, international criminal law, and transitional justice at Temple University School of Law. She is currently participating in an international expert group studying the proposed addition of criminal jurisdiction to the mandate of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Stephen J. Rapp is an American lawyer and the former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice.
Dr. Godfrey Musila holds a Ph.D in International Criminal Law and Justice (with a focus on the international criminal court). He is Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s School of Law, where he teaches Constitutional Human Rights and International Criminal Law.
Mark Drumbl is the Class of 1975 Alumni Professor at Washington and Lee University, School of Law, where he also serves as Director of the University's Transnational Law Institute.
Professor Elena Baylis is an expert in post-conflict justice at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Her scholarship focuses on the intersections between international criminal law and rule of law initiatives, the role of transnational networks, and the interactions between international, national, and sub-national institutions and communities.
Margaret deGuzman began the panel discussion by posing a broader and important question: should the ICC privilege global or local justice goals?
Steven Rapp emphasized the fact that state cooperation is pivotal in the case of ICC. Without state cooperation the ICC’s works will be not that affective. Highlighting the situation in Syria and Iraq, and citing the example of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he mentioned that often leaders are provided with impunity, denying justice on the local level.
Godfrey Musila asked to whom is the ICC providing justice, and whose justice is it? These are serious questions for the ICC for consideration, and its decisions are often politicized. How to align local justice with global norm is a major question in the mind of many. He suggested that the ICC should step up and bring to justice the rebels that commit crimes, and agreed that often government official who are involved in mass atrocities are given immunity. The ICC hasn’t been effective in prosecuting heads of state. At the local level as well, mostly rebels are prosecuted. Domestic courts should work in complementarity and cooperation with the ICC to resolve impunity gaps, he emphasized.
Margaret deGuzman briefly discussed the ICC’s role in decision-making and noted that it is the entity that investigates the tensions between global and local roles.
Mark Drumbl highlighting the broader question: what is justice, and how we can ensure justice? He summarized different factors through which the ICC can contribute to recovery from atrocities. He favored more innovation in the justice system and stressed the need for new mechanisms to ensure justice for all. In his view, local communities often have different perceptiona compared to international community, and the grass roots population should not be ignored.
Elena Baylis remarked that the ICC should focus on its core commitments. There should be clear determination of what is local and what comes under the global category. She agreed with Drumbl that local and international perception is often different, and emphasized the need to be balanced and take both local and global norms into consideration. Senior officials commit crimes, but how we can ensure that the local population is provided with justice?
Addressing a question regarding cultural property destruction, some panelists favored the prosecution of cultural property crimes, while others emphasized protecting the people, as the ICC is a modest institution that can only do so much for peace by acting as prosecutor and criminal court.
Additional questions addressed the need to take into consideration the suffering of victims and whether the ICC should encourage other courts to take victim preferences into account.
Ahmad Shah Katawazai is a Research Associate at the Public International Law & Policy Group.