These remarks were presented on January 5, 2001, as part of a panel on international criminal adjudication at a conference entitled "Into the 21st Century: Reconstruction and Reparations" in Cape Town, South Africa.
The United States joined a number of countries that rushed to sign the treaty to establish the International Criminal Court. They included states like Yemen, Iran, and Israel. These three, along with the United States, were among the few that had refused to vote in favor of the treaty when it was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome in 1998. By the end of 2000, 139 states, out of the 189 states in the United Nations, had signed the Rome Treaty. Twenty-seven had ratified, nearly half the sixty needed for the treaty to enter into force. That means it is increasingly likely that the ICC will someday come into being.
The Rome Treaty calls for creation of a permanent, international court, which will hear cases of individuals charged with most serious crimes: crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, and, perhaps later, aggression. It will operate prospectively; that is, only persons suspected of committing crimes after the court has begun may be haled before it. It will sit at The Hague, but its jurisdiction will be global. These developments make my own topic extremely timely.
It is whether, and to what extent, international criminal adjudication is the appropriate method for redressing human rights atrocities. Now is an apt time to ask such questions, not only because of the landmark movement toward an ICC, but also because of the predecessors of the ICC that have come into being in the last decade. For the first time since the immediate post-World War II period, ad hoc tribunals are adjudicating international crimes - crimes that, even if they occur within one state's borders, offend the international community.
Diane Marie Amann,
Assessing International Criminal Adjudication of Human Rights Atrocities
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/823