A Critical Analysis of the International Criminal Court: Its Significance, Drawbacks and Future Roadmap

By Ifra Jan* and Karmanye Thadani**


One of the most important driving forces behind the decision to establish the United Nations was the prime determination “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in their life time had brought untold sorrow to mankind”. However, even after the formation of the United Nations, several armed conflicts and wars continue to inflict pain and suffering. In this consideration, the Humans Rights Committee during its sixteenth session in 1984 observed that “war and other acts of mass violence continue to be a scourge of humanity and take the lives of thousands of innocent beings every year”.

Generally, in situations of conflict arising from the territoriality principle, states have the power to take jurisdiction over the crimes committed within their territory, which is inherently defined under their sovereignty. However, under nationality principles, states would assume jurisdiction over the crimes committed by their nationals outside the boundaries. In the exercise of their sovereignty, states can delegate the task of trying a particular type of offence to an international body. This was done after World War II and, more recently, after the conflicts in the Balkans, in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste and to a less extent in Cambodia.

Before the inception of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a brief introduction to the two ad hoc tribunals, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), is important, as this would further highlight the importance of the ICC. Firstly, the United Nations Security Council set these ad hoc tribunals in order to exercise and maintain its security and peace powers which are defined under Chapter VII of the UNSC charter (Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression). Secondly, these tribunals shared their respective jurisdictions with the national courts (like the ICC as well), however, there was no mention anywhere that the decision of the tribunals shall supersede the national courts (unlike the ICC). Lastly, the tribunals only served at a specific location under a special time frame and were subjected to selective justice, which failed to transpire into the world at large, which was facing similar crises during the same time.  

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US attack on Syria: Use of Force and Norm Creation

by Sujoy Sur

The United States of America fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on 6th April. This was 2 days after chemical weapons were used in the same Syrian town, which killed over 80 people, including at  least 20 women and 30 children. However, the question arises whether USA’s act can in any manner be held a) a legitimate response, b) a valid act in itself.Read More »

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Non-International Armed Conflict in Syria and Iraq (Part II)

By Devaditya Chakravarti*

Read Part I here.

V. Why we need to control the NSAGs (Non-State Armed Groups) ?

The world is as of yet a nascent system grappling with war & violence, proliferating terrorism & traumatic inflictions on innocent civilians. International humanitarian law, traceable to the dawn of humanity’s cultural consciousness, has gradually taken shape & gained strength. So, in fact to some extent, with the intervention of various charters of United Nations, there has been an apparent control over the raging war between NSAGs & the State.

Photo: CICR/HEGER, Boris

The controversial question arises who would be the actual body to control or measure the NSAGs. In this question, there has been only avoidance of responsibility among various states. The lethargic & callous attitude towards the role of NSAGs has been proved to be matter of great import.

As we can longer be dependent on state’s role to control the NSAGs, it is about time that the Non-Governmental Organizations should come forward & take this opportunity to prove their social responsibility is much greater than that of “state”.Read More »

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Non-International Armed Conflict in Syria and Iraq (Part I)


By Devaditya Chakravarti*


In recent months, a good swathe of armed combatants fighting against the supposedly oppressive Assad regime in Syria has matured itself into a fighting force increasingly able to challenge the state’s control of the country and to strike at strategic targets. This has coincided with it unifying under a single command of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (hereinafter ISIS) which has very understandably assumed the ability to mount co-ordinated military operations and as a result, has captured vast swathes of lands both in Syria and Iraq. There is credible evidence to suggest that the ISIS has managed to exist under a parallel economy altogether, what with them controlling key oilfields and exporting the produce to nearby countries, like Turkey and other countries in North Africa and the Near East along with having a broad extortion racket. This has positioned the ISIS as the biggest threat to Western states since 9/11, proving itself as a daunting challenge and bringing misery to those under its oppressive rule.

Iraq's Shi'ite paramilitaries and members of Iraqi security forces hold an Islamist State flag which they pulled down in Nibai, in Anbar province
Iraq’s Shi’ite paramilitaries and members of Iraqi security forces hold an Islamist State flag which they pulled down in Nibai, in Anbar province, May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

The situation caused by the ISIS has proven to be a great legal hurdle for leading academicians and international law experts with respect to use of armed force and devising an appropriate response to such groups. Also, the states fighting the ISIS both from inside the Middle East and from the West treat the ISIS as merely belligerents and are not particularly keen on recognizing them as Non-State Armed Groups, which will be highlighted in greater detail in subsequent paragraphs.
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The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Hegelian Right of Recognition (or the anti-pseudo Hobbes-Locke-Rousseauian Right for Survival).

by Sujoy Sur

The international community was appalled when the photograph of a young Syrian boy, a refugee, whose boat had capsized in the process of migration from Syria across the Aegean sea, flooded the internet showing his dead body upside down on a beach of a Turkish Resort. The whole episode epitomizes the tragedy of the international system. War torn middle east battling violent demons resurrected by the ashes of the bridges and the houses burnt by the west is an online story which attracts quite an interest by dilettante netizens who empathise with the refugee crisis which they were not aware of till yesterday, or even if they were they did not notice it because the crisis did not have a face in the form of a young boy’s dead body.

Credits: IBTimesRead More »