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Protection Against Miscarriages Of Justice Within International Criminal Law: An Erga Omnes Obligation

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Chapter Summary

One of the most important problems of contemporary criminal law, both national and international, is to identify a potential miscarriage of justice in a timely way and to protect the affected legal community from it. The doctrine of obligations erga omnes was developed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the 1970 Barcelona Traction case. First, in the Barcelona Traction case the Court gave some indication as to which obligations "by their very nature" qualified as obligations erga omnes. The second reason justifying the qualification of the protection against miscarriages of justice as an obligation erga omnes arises from the argument that such protection also involves state responsibilities, in as much as governments in their criminal law systems incorporate adequate supervisory systems, as well as mechanisms to reduce the risk of wrongful convictions.

Keywords: Barcelona Traction case; contemporary criminal law; erga omnes; International Court of Justice (ICJ); miscarriage of justice



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