The Oxford handbook of the international law of global security
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2021
This chapter focuses on criminal prosecution. Traditionally, in domestic law, criminal prosecution has been regarded as a tool capable of contributing to peaceful and secure governance. Under international law, however, recourse to criminal prosecution as a safeguard for maintaining international peace and security is very recent and still limited, and in many respects disputed. This is the case both when international rules are applied by international jurisdictions and when they are directed at soliciting the exercise of criminal prosecution by domestic courts. The chapter looks at the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC Statute), which expressly provides that the jurisdiction of the Court ‘shall be limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole’, and identifies these crimes as the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. Given that the ICC Statute does not merely codify customary international law, but also partially develops or restricts it, its adoption has produced some degree of fragmentation of international criminal law, which further impacts on the existing international case law.
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