The Research Unit in ‘International Justice and Human Rights’, Edge Hill University, is delighted to organise the interdisciplinary Conference on ‘Twenty Years of the ICC’s Rome Statute: Utopia – Reality – Crisis’.
After the end of the Cold War, the once utopian dream of an international criminal court gained momentum. In July 1998, civil society, scholars, and practitioners welcomed the establishment of a permanent international criminal tribunal with great enthusiasm.
The Court was greeted as a fundamental step in the evolution of the universal system of human rights protection, and in the fight against impunity for core crimes.
When the Court resumed its work and reality hit, it soon became apparent that International criminal justice is time-consuming, costly, and very complicated. It seems that after the initial euphoria, scholars became aware that the ICC could not achieve the expectations, which had been put on the Court. State parties became more and more impatient with a Court, which needed ten years to render its first judgment. Both intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations started to criticise the effectiveness of the first permanent international criminal tribunal.
Today the ICC faces accusations of asymmetrical implementation of international criminal justice with some African states withdrawing from the Rome Statute. In addition, it is difficult to impart the importance of international criminal justice when a humanitarian catastrophe is taking place in Syria, while the ICC is condemned to inaction. With recurring nationalism all over, it seems hardly imaginable that an international criminal court, with universalistic aspirations, would be created again today.
With the participation of ICC judges, international scholars and practitioners, the Conference aims to facilitate exchange of ideas on the role and limits of the ICC. This interdisciplinary Conference brings together international judges, prominent scholars, including criminologists, criminal and international lawyers, experts in the fields of international relations, and senior officers from International Criminal Tribunals in order to address the following key research questions: Can proceedings be made more effective thereby improving the Court’s reputation, and if so how? What are the Court’s real goals and functions? How do they relate to the selection of situations to investigate and cases to prosecute? And how to unfold the rather complicated triangle relationship between the Court, the Security Council and the state parties?
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