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This brief paper identifies multiple intersections between the major international relief and development non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the international justice system, and suggests six specific ways in which the NGOs and the justice system might become more mutually reinforcing or at least diminish tensions between them over the next several years. It begins with an overview of these large NGOs and describes some recent trends in the evolution of these organizations.
The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has created significant expectations among victims that justice will be done whenever and wherever serious international crimes are committed. The Preamble to the Rome Statute refers to ending impunity on a global level. Despite its best efforts, the ICC alone cannot fulfill these expectations by investigating and trying each of these crimes. As a result, the vast majority of international crimes will remain unpunished unless and until domestic systems or other mechanisms are able to deal with them.
The 2009 MacArthur Consultative Conference
on International Justice will provide an important opportunity for strategic
conversation among the range of actors involved in international justice.
As part of this effort, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court
(CICC) will continue to refine its three-year strategy to support and strengthen
the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the broader system of justice
that is rooted in the Rome Statute, the Court's founding treaty.
The Prosecutorial Strategy for 2009-2012
remains based on the three principles defined in the previous Prosecutorial
Strategy for 2006-2009, - positive complementarity, focussed investigations
and prosecutions, and maximizing the impact of its work. The Prosecutorial
Strategy for 2009-2012 establishes five interrelated objectives:
Public opinion identifies the notion of "international justice" with the International Criminal Court and with the organs of individual criminal responsibility set up by the international community since the 1990s. This is understandable because in the last two decades there has been a marked shift from total impunity for mass atrocities to an attempt to prosecute at least the worst offenders.
The Rome Statute created an international
legal/judicial system to prosecute and try the international crimes of
genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as the crime
of aggression when defined (hereinafter international crimes). The primary
responsibility for these prosecutions and trials lies with national jurisdictions,
and only when national courts are either unwilling or unable to prosecute
does the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (hereinafter
the Court) arise.
The Assembly of States Parties is the intergovernmental organ overseeing the work of the International Criminal Court, and at the same time its legislative branch, competent to discuss and adopt amendments to the Rome Statute. The Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties (composed of one President, two Vice-Presidents and 18 members) as currently constituted will be steering the work of the Assembly until November 2011 and also serve in this function during the Review Conference in May/June 2010.