>What role should the International Criminal Court play?


The ICC is a permanent tribunal set up to prosecute individuals for: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. It was created by the Rome Statute only 8 years ago. Yet despite the opposition of big powers like the US and China, it’s commonly seen as having been succesful to date. It has indicted people, inlcuding a serving President, in Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic and Kenya.

However, throughout its existence it has not had the power to excercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, and it is now being debated as to whether we should give the ICC that power. What do you think? Is it practical? Is it desirable? And should we be discussing giving or taking away even more power than just this?


  • >I'm of the opinion that the ICC should be strengthened. However there is a problem to face. When talking about to right to be aggressive against another country we have to ask what aggression is justified and what is not. Obviously that's difficult because some countries e.g. the invaded and their allies/freinds, will always disagree with the act. I think the only way around this is to strengthen the UN, reform it to work much better, and cut out the corruption wherever it lies. Then we can remove the right to invade or enact any act of aggression that might lead to war without some sort of collective decision making in the UN. It would minimize such acts of aggression, and legitimise action when it did take place.

  • >According to the UN Charter force can be used on the grounds of:Humanitarian actionUN Security Council authoritySelf defence (individual or collective)I can be a simplistic pacifist in such matters, but I don't see why 'aggression' can't be classified as any force used outside of these three areas, with the ICC taking up as proper role as arbiter.

  • >The problem is mainly that of pre-emptive action. Is it an action of defence or offence? And then there are distinctions and definitions. Can you claim Iraq was invaded on humanitarian grounds? Kurds were undeniably being persecuted after all.In fact Iraq is the big stumbling block. Those states with power enough to really block such powers going to the ICC aren't prepared to cede such power when they envision the possibility of having to invade other rogue states like North Korea and Iran at some point in the future.

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