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The International Criminal Court: A Pipe Dream to End Impunity?

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image of International Criminal Law Review

The prospects of the emerging international criminal justice system, namely the International Criminal Court, serving as a catalyst to end impunity of those most responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and massive violations of human rights, remains bleak given four underlying factors: the ideology of deterrence that undergirds the system, jurisdictional limitations, the backlash of its involvement in and issuance of arrest warrants during highly contentious conflicts. This article offers some insight into these issues and the obstacles they present to the success of the International Criminal Court in ending impunity and future cases of such criminality. We begin by discussing the International Criminal Court followed by the ideology of deterrence and issues associated with the Court’s jurisdiction. We then draw on two case examples, namely Uganda and Columbia, to discuss the challenges to involvement in ongoing conflicts and post-conflict situations.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA


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