Human rights in the context of international criminal law: respecting them and ensuring respect for them
Research handbook on human rights and humanitarian law
Cheltenham ; Northampton : E. Elgar, 2013
The links between international criminal law and human rights law are complex, as becomes evident in view of the number of questions raised in this chapter: Are human rights (including the rights of the accused) respected in international criminal law? Are they a source of law for the international criminal courts? What influence do human rights have on international criminal law? Furthermore, to paraphrase the title of the well-known work written on the relationship between human rights law and criminal law: are they the shield or the sword of international criminal law? The purpose of human rights law is to protect individuals when they are confronted by a superior power (legitimate or not), be it the State, the judicial system or the prison system, etc. The situation should be the same in international criminal law, the superior power being in such instances international criminal jurisdictions. However, international criminal law must face two prospects: on the one hand, international law must apply human rights law, on the other hand, it must enforce it. It has to respect human rights law and ensure respect for them. The aim of this chapter is to analyse how this duality of function plays out before the international criminal tribunals.