The Attempt at the Decline of Political Power- Julia Norman

The beginnings of a global criminal court trace back to the 19th century with Gustav Moynier. He proposed a permanent court after the Franco-Prussian War. With time, the International Criminal Court was created in April 2002. Its goal of being mandated was to achieve international justice and try individuals in a court for heinous crimes, no matter their political standing. Because of the desire to separate power and politics from the court, the ICC has gone through debates on how to structure a successful international court. There are multiple factors that play a role in the equation. How can states be involved in the court without influencing the decisions of the prosecuted? Or should the ICC prosecutors consider political factors of the person being investigated?

The ICC should not take into consideration countries political factors. One of the ways it promotes little state power is that the ICC has ensured member states have  little influence in the decision making process. The ICC does this by creating majority on a one-state vote policy when appointing the court’s judges. Major powers who have chosen not to join not to join the court have even smaller say then those who are members. Nonmembers cannot nominate who is appointed and the budget of the ICC. The ICC does its best to stay away from state power. Some state power is needed because of funding and prosecutors, however. It is not wrong for the ICC prosecutor to take political factors into consideration because the foundation of the ICC is to be an international criminal court where power and politics do not matter, just the crimes.

The reason for the creation of the ICC was to prosecute individuals based not on political factors. Political factors should not play a role in which the ICC prosecutes. Even though political factors should not play a factor, it is difficult to try powerful individuals. how to not allow political factors to effect decisions. To what extent can anything be done of the ICC tries powerful people and how much power does the ICC have? Essentially all the ICC can do it blame and signal people for their crimes. This has been effective, however. James Fearon, PhD in political science from Stanford University, believes that “If you increase the probability of prosecution and punishment for committing certain crimes, the total amount of these crimes should go down”. Bosco Ntanganda is a great example of increasing punishment reducing total amounts of crimes. Ntangda turned himself in to the ICC because staying in the DRC would have been even worse for him. The ICC has been successful in trying of individuals on multiple occasions and will continue to try individuals not based on their political power, but on their actions.








2 thoughts on “The Attempt at the Decline of Political Power- Julia Norman”

  1. However, the ICC is inherently a political entity because it was formed by a treaty and needing to be party to it to have your citizens be tried. If the ICC was not political and was able to try people based on as you say, “their actions”, then the United States would have many citizens going before the judges. However, it is essentially illegal to send a US citizen to trial before the ICC, making the system basically an unfair political entity to punish African men who end up on the loosing side of a conflict either for their protection or out of spite.


  2. Well done! But it would be extremely hard to argue that the ICC is non-political. If you look at the ICC brief history, you will find that it has been vulnerable to political power of its members. Moreover you mentioned that most of whom the ICC prosecute are politicians. That being said, politics would always play a role in the ICC procedure and it would be unrealistic to separate politics from law.


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