Challenges Faced by International Criminal Court Essay Example

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With the rising cases international cases associated with violation of human rights and impunity, the International Criminal Court (ICC) plays an important role in trying to reduce such cases by bringing the accused criminals to justice. ICC is an intergovernmental organization as well as the international tribunal with its headquarter at the Hague, Netherlands. In addition, the jurisdiction of the court involves prosecution of individuals for international crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. As an intergovernmental organization, the court should aim at complementing the existing national judicial systems. Consequently, the court might only exercise its jurisdiction when the involved countries meet certain conditions. These conditions include unwillingness and inadequate capability of the national courts to prosecute criminals or when there are referrals from the United Nations Security Council or individual states. The court began its responsibilities on July 1, 2002, when the Rome Statute entered into force on a foundation and document governing the court. Rome Statute is the multilateral treaty, which the member states ratified. Upon ratification, the member states were to comply with the Rome Statutes through assisting in pursuing international criminals (Ellis, Goldstone & International Debate Education Association, 2008, 167). However, the court faces several challenges associated with the cooperation of the member states with continents like Africa threatening to withdraw from the court. From such background, the report would explore some of the challenges associated inadequate corporation levels.

Major parties involved in the management of court affairs

The ICC is an independent international organization and has no connection with the United Nations systems in relation to its responsibilities. Although the expenses of the court are funded primarily by the States Parties, it receives more voluntary contributions from international organizations, governments, individual corporations, and other entities. The major non-governmental organization working closely with the ICC is the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), which brings together other 2,500 organizations globally advocating for effective, fair, and independent ICC. The members of the coalition NGO work in collaboration with an aim of strengthening International Corporation with the court; ensuring that the court is fair, independent, and effective while executing its jurisdictional responsibilities; make justice both universal and visible, make the national laws stronger that delivers justice to victims of crimes against humanity. The organization draws its members from more than 150 different countries with objectives of fostering the practice of equity balance while executing judgments and delivering justice to victims of genocide. Some of the parties working closely with the NGO are World Federalist Movement, Human Rights Watch, No Peace without Justice, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists, and Parliamentarians for Global Action, and Amnesty International. It is important to note that most of the NGOs working with the ICC are members of the CICC.

The ICC also works with the United Nations Security Council to align organizational activities with needs of the respective member states. Moreover, the council has the powers under the Rome Statute to refer cases to the ICC under circumstances that the Council believes that the state has no powers to deliver its jurisdictional mandates. In areas where the council has no mandate, it could request the court to defer the investigations. Although ICC came into being in 2002 to ensuring effectiveness in the international justice processes, countries like the United States took several steps to undercut the establishment of the court. The underlying factor that led to the states’ action is that the new court would subject the US nationals to politically motivated international justice. Furthermore, most African countries are seeking withdrawal from the international court claiming that the processes and responsibility were politically manipulated, which could hinder the provision of justice to both the accused and the victims. The permanent members of the Security Council have not ratified with the ICC a factor comprising the ability and efficiency of the court to execute its duties. There is the need to change the relationship between the ICC and the UN Security Council. However, such process might be difficult because ICC is judicial while the nature of the council is political. In relation to the promotion of international justice, it is not the direct mission of the UN Security Council to promotion justice but to ensure maintenance of international peace and security, though such components have close relationship with the notion of justice. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations of the court, the United Nations has a branch identified as International Court of Justice (ICJ). ICJ has its headquarter based in the Peace Palace, the Hague with its responsibilities including settling legal disputes it receives from the states and provide advisory opinions on legal matters. Consequently, it receives submissions from duly authorized international branches, UN General Assembly, and agencies.

Current issues affecting the deliverance of justice at the ICC

In 2012, the ICC celebrated its 10th anniversary with the first decade the court issuing not only the judgments but also providing solutions to several challenges. Currently, the court is experiencing several challenges with most countries threatening to withdraw from the treaty governing the Rome Statute. Most threats are mainly from the African countries, which state that the initial responsibilities of the court have been compromised with political activities taking the greatest share. Moreover, countries like the United States have not been able to ratify the Rome Statute citing that it would subject their citizens to political instigated judicial processes. Besides, most political leaders associate the court with a weapon mainly targeting the African leaders considering the number of people that have been able to undergo the prosecution process so far. Most of the targeted leaders are great African icons holding important positions in the management of the states. Since its inception in 2002, the court has been able to make strides forwards in fighting impunity and holding the perpetrators of serious criminal activities accountable. Nevertheless, the court has trouble while executing its mandates especially in relation to the corporation with the member states and independence. International observers and African leaders have criticized the operations of the court for applying double standards. These observers argue that the Court places undue focus on the African continent while neglecting the violation of human rights in the western countries. To date, the court has only been able to open formal investigations into the situations of the African countries.

Challenges experienced by the court in delivering its mandates

Globally, the judicial and international laws frameworks are changing, and most countries are focusing on establishing internal courts that would help manage cases involving genocides. To analyze both the challenges and achievements of the ICC, it would be important to understand the Rome Statute and situate the court within the institutional framework of both the past and present international laws and justice mechanisms. Most achievements of the court are mainly from the office of the registry, which include unique mechanism of providing support to the witnesses and victims, establishment of important infrastructures of the court, and growing of the outreach programs. The judiciary sectors have also made remarkable progress dealing with situations in most African countries like the establishment of international courts in some countries. With these progresses, the court still faces numerous challenges associated with state corporations, security, and safety of the investigators and witnesses (Ellis, Goldstone & International Debate Education Association, 2008, 221).

The expediency of the court’s proceedings is another issue that requires immediate attention since it involves interlocutory appeals and victims’ participation. These activities threaten the rights of the accused to earn fair trials. From the current international laws, human rights, and judicial systems, these challenges could surmount if the mechanism of enhancing the processes and functions of the court are not taken into consideration.

Another challenge limiting the performance of the court is its full dependence on the effective cooperation of the criminals. Since the court lacks executive powers and police force to execute its orders, it depends on the full, timely, and effective cooperation from the member states. As foreseen and planned by the founders, the major characteristics of the court is poor structural framework and weaknesses that hinder competencies and methods of enforcing its decisions. The court also experiences challenges associated with the difficulty of carrying out enormous investigations and collecting evidences regarding mass crimes committed in different areas. Some areas are less accessible, unstable, and unsafe for the investigators. As a result, the court might experience logistical and technical difficulties and unprecedented problems.

More importantly, the activities of the court depend on the resources generated by the member countries. Some investigations are complicated and consume much time; therefore, they require more resources. With the financial scarcity available for such activities, the court might be able to execute its responsibilities effectively. The looming global economic crisis is also another factor likely to compromise the future operations of the court and the budgets. Besides, there are several attacks on the legitimacy and manipulation of the court as a political tool continues to affect the credibility of the court. The court processes take much time. As a result, there have been increasing frustrations over the pace used by the court in executing its mandates. Since its inception in 2002 and enactment of the Rome Statute, the world still awaits the judgment of trial of the Congolese businessperson Thomas Lubanga.


The main objective of the ICC during its formulation was to ensure that people get justice. However, most countries still have not been able to realize the benefits associated with the formulation of the court. On the contrary, the manner in which the court manages its respectabilities and decisions has received criticism from most African countries and non-governmental organizations. Moreover, some countries have also issued threats of withdrawing from the Rome Statutes. Nevertheless, considering the challenges affecting the performance of the court, the recommendations are likely to enhance the trust and loyalty of the involved parties. The success of the court depends on the roles played by the state parties and frameworks used by the court in handling its duties.

Over the years, there have been changes in the legal frameworks and international laws. However, the Rome Statute has not been amended for many years reflecting discrepancies in its operations. There is the need to align the legal framework governing the operations of the organization to enable it meet international standards. Such alignment would also ensure that the needs of specific countries are taken into consideration to prevent the ongoing discussions that the political activities play important roles in the designing organizational framework. Besides, the court needs to continue consolidating its ongoing developments into effective and international professional organization. To win the trust of the state parties, there is need that the court show its essentiality through the manner in which it conducts its activities. The court proceedings need to be purely judicial, objective oriented, neutral, and nonpolitical institution.

It is evident that that the court cannot achieve its objects successfully with the corporation, active, and steadfast support from the state parties. It is important that the member states draw appropriate conclusions from the well-known truth that the ICC has no executive powers, police, armed forces, or any other executive mechanism. Most countries especially those with people who have been sanctioned tend to use such grounds and fail to give the suspects to the court. As a result, both the state parties and the court administration must develop the best practices in a near future that would ensure the cooperation of the criminals. Such practices should be flexible, without unnecessary bureaucracy, and have the ability to enhance the flow of information and supportive mechanisms.


Globally, people experience several problems associated with violation of human rights, civil wars, and unprecedented political rivalry that often result in loss of lives. Unfortunately, most of the victims of such activities have not been able to get justice. Therefore, through the establishment of the international criminal court, the victims of genocide and civil wars had much faith the international judicial system would assist in healing their wounds. However, several challenges compromise the ability of the court to offer its mandates. These challenges include inadequate support from the state parties, unavailability of adequate resources that continues to increase dependence on the state parties, and poor legal structures. As a result, to ensure effective performance of the court, there is need to align organizational activities and legal frameworks of members.


. New York: International Debate Education Association. The International Criminal Court: Challenges to achieving justice and accountability in the 21st century & International Debate Education Association. 2008. Goldstone, R., S., Ellis, M.