The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent and independent body, based in Hague, Netherlands. The statute governing the Court is known as the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002. It was adopted by 120 states in the Rome conference in 1998. According to the ICC’s Statute, the Court’s stated aim is to investigate and prosecute individuals for the most serious crimes of international concern, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.2 Instead of investigating into atrocious violations of decades passed, the ICC’s jurisdiction extends only over crimes committed on or after the Rome Statute took effect. Throughout this essay, rather than exploring the progress of the ICC in general, focus will be placed of some challenging issues concerning the ICC, such as the International Criminal Court investigative strategy on various sexual crimes and the ICC’s focus on Africa.
The Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court, is considered as the first international treaty that recognizes a range of acts of sexual violence as crimes. However, the ICC’s inconsistent approach to investigate sexual crimes has meant that several atrocities are overlooked and unpunished. For instance, after the ICC investigations in the Ituri district of Congo, Lubanga was only charged for recruitment and use of child soldiers, no charged with sexual violence crimes.3 While it could be argued that the charge brought against the militia leader is sufficiently serious, nevertheless, further charges should be brought against Lubanga such as killings, rape and torture that his forces perpetrated.
Out of the same set of investigations in the Ituri, Lubanga’s deputy, Bosco Ntaganda, was also charged with similar crimes co-perpetrating war crimes of enlisting or conscripting children.4 However, like Lubanga, he was not charged with sexual violence crimes.
Since the Rome Statute entered into force in 2002, the ICC has mostly focused its initial effort on African nations. Moreover, all of the current situations before the ICC concern African countries. Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, supporter of the Court, argues that active ICC investigations in Africa are not because of prosecutorial prejudice but because three of the countries involved Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and the Central African Republic voluntarily referred the situations within their territories to the ICC.5 Tutu’s argument is certainly accurate, however, since the establishment of the International Criminal Court research has demonstrated that the Office of the Prosecutor has also received 1918 communications on heinous crimes alleged to have occurred in 153 countries.6Thus, it is difficult to believe that in 153 countries, the gravest crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction have occurred and are occurring only in African countries.
International Criminal Court was established to address atrocities in world; it should represent world values and judicial traditions. The fact that the prosecutor has placed its focus on the Africa does not necessarily reflect this theory because as we all know, since the U.S invasion in Iraq; over 1,000 people mostly civilians have been killed.7 In Gaza, over one million Palestinians were killed by the Israelis.8 ICC witnessed the destruction of those countries; however, never did anything to prevent it. In relation to the investigative strategy of the court prosecutors must take a broader approach to tackle various types of sexual violence for example by increasing cooperate with national courts without compromising its integrity.
Conjoined Twins: Jodie And Mary
Born at St Mary’s hospital, Manchester, on August 8, 2000 Jodie and Mary were joined at the lower abdomen and shared a spine, therefore they qualified as “ischiopagus” conjoined twins.1 Meaning they were joined in the pelvis region and have four lower legs between them. The doctors believed without an operation to separate the twins, both would die within six months since Mary was dependent on Jodie to supply her with oxygenated blood.2The doctors in charge of the case wanted to save Jodie, which would mean killing Mary. Jodie and Mary whose parents are devout Roman Catholics from the Island of Gozo, Malta insisted that “God’s will” be done and that nature should be left to take its course.3 The main focus of interest in this essay is to analyse why it would have been better to respect the parents’ wishes and not to operate.
Generally in every case, the law requires the courts to determine what facts form the basis of a reasoned legal opinion. In Jodie and Mary’s case medical facts formed the foundation for the court’s decision; yet the medical facts were not one hundred percent certain. For instance, at the time of the trial, doctors first predicted that Jodie and Mary could live conjoined for only three to six month, during the appeal just few months later; the specialists have altered their previous statement and acknowledge that the twins might live as long as “three to six months, or perhaps a little longer”4, this revised estimate could be one or two years in which improved medical technology might have allowed safer separation. The medical uncertainty mandates concern since it was the common ground of the case.
Although the twins’ parents were against the operation to separate twins, the High Court and Appeal judges overruled their objection. Mr Justice Johnson, in his original High Court decision, claimed that the parents were “too overwhelmed”5 to do what was best for their babies; this statement seems to imply it was a problem that the parents are emotionally involved with their children. The parents were certainly traumatised by the tragedy surrounding their family; however, it should not disqualify them to know what is best for their children. Lord justice Ward in his reasoning stated Mary as “parasite” and she is “growing at Jodie’s expense”6, it can be argued that in order to circumvent the reality that saving Jodie is killing Mary, the courts adopted this analogy to permit them to characterize the action of killing Mary as something else.
This case was one of those in which all the possible outcomes are awful but combined with the fact that it is as emotionally charged as it is complex, the Court and the doctors had no moral or legal authority over the separation of Jodie and Mary, this authority should have been left to the children parents. In case where I had to develop this essay, the issues about the parental consent and the different analogies or distinctions the courts used in this case would have been included.