There is a controversy regarding the question as to whether there exists International criminal law or not. Analyze and if International criminal law exists explain its principles.
International criminal law exist in the global crisis of different countries crime related activities such as genocide, war crime etc. Most legal scholars agree that a recognizable body of international criminal law does exist. However, the precise parameters of this body of law are often unclear, perhaps due to the rapid and complex developments of our global society. From our realistic examples we can get clear idea about the existence of international criminal law. In its widest context, the source of international criminal law might be derived from the general principles of international law recognized by civilized nations; and therefore, found in the customary law accepted by states, the general criminal law recognized by nations, and the treaties which govern particular conduct.
1.2 Definition of International Criminal law
International criminal law is a subset of public international law, and is the main subject of these materials. While international law typically concerns inter-state relations, international criminal law concerns individuals. In particular, international criminal law places responsibility on individual persons not states or organizations and proscribes and punishes acts that are defined as crimes by international law. International criminal law is a relatively new body of law, and aspects of it are neither uniform nor universal. For example, some aspects of the law of the ICTY are unique to that jurisdiction, do not reflect customary international law and also differ from the law of the ICC.
International criminal law also includes laws, procedures and principles relating to modes of liability, defenses, evidence, court procedure, sentencing, victim participation, witness protection, mutual legal assistance and cooperation issues. Each of these topics will be addressed in these materials.
2.0 Institution of international criminal law
Today, the most important institutions are;
International Criminal Court (ICC):
The International Criminal is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression; although it cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression .
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:
The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a body of the United Nations established to prosecute serious crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and to try their perpetrators. The tribunal is an ad hoc court which is located in The Hague, the Netherlands.
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda:
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), is an international court established in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 955 in order to judge people responsible for the Rwandan Genocide and other serious violations of the international law in Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between 1 January and 31 December 1994.
3.0 Principle of international criminal law
The fundamental principles of international criminal law:
A. The principle of Legality:
A central tenet of human rights law that applies directly to the international criminal law system is the principle that prohibits retroactive application of crimes and penalties. To incur criminal responsibility, behavior must be prohibited and carry criminal sanction at the time of conduct. This is known as the principle of legality. The principle of legality is an important principle in international criminal law, given the often imprecise nature of the sources of ICL.
B. Double jeopardy:
Another central tenet of international criminal law is the principle of double jeopardy, Prohibits a person for being tried twice for the same conduct, and stems from concerns of fairness to defendants and motivation for thorough investigations and prosecutions. Before the ICTY, an accused may be convicted of more than one offence for the same underlying conduct providing that the elements of the offences are different. The application of these principles during prosecutions of international crimes before international and domestic courts is constantly evolving. Accused persons will often contest that the international crimes with which they are charged were not recognized as binding law at the time of their alleged commission.
3.1 Major crimes under international criminal law
A. Human Rights
Many international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, slavery, torture, and war crimes are considered violations of the norms of human rights and, as such, are usually covered extensively in traditional human rights research sources.
B. Organized Crime and Narcotics
Organized crime encompasses a wide range of illegal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting, credit card fraud, traffic in persons, illegal arms and weapons trading, criminal offenses against the environment, and even car theft. Generally speaking, organized crime can be any illegal activity that has evolved to the level of a business enterprise.
C. Cyber Crime
This site is maintained by the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. It is primarily a clearinghouse for information on legal and policy issues relating to cyber crime, including cases, legislation, and related documents.
D. Environmental Crime
Cooperation in criminal matters throughout Europe is facilitated by treaties and agreements negotiated under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the European Union.
This is the U.N.’s official website for collecting and reporting on U.N. actions against terrorism. It provides up-to-the-minute coverage of the latest developments, including press releases and web cast statements. The U.N. “opened a new phase in their counter-terrorism efforts by agreeing on a global strategy to counter terrorism. The strategy, adopted on 8 September 2006 and formally launched on 19 September 2006 marks the first time that countries around the world agree to a common strategic approach to fight terrorism.”
4.0 Sources of international criminal law:
As international criminal law is a subset of public international law, the sources of ICL are largely the same as those of public international law. The five sources of ICL used by international and hybrid criminal courts generally are:
· Treaty law
· Customary international law
· General principles of law
· Judicial decisions
· learned writings
The sources of law can sometimes overlap and have a dynamic relationship. For example, a treaty can reflect, become or influence the development of customary international law and vice versa. A judgment of an international court may influence the development of treaty and customary international law. Generally, international and hybrid courts use treaties and custom as the main sources of international criminal law, in addition to their own governing instruments
The five sources of international criminal law roughly correlate with the classic expression of the sources of international law contained in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice
· international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting States
· international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law
· the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations
· Judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.
5.0 Criminal law
Criminal law is a body of rules and statutes that relates to crime and some violating behavior that prohibited by the government because it threatens and harms public safety and welfare and that establishes punishment to be imposed for the commission of such acts. It controls social conduct and forbid threatening, harming, safety, and moral welfare of people of a nation. Those people who violate criminal laws are under take into consideration of different punishments system.
For example, the law prohibiting murder is a real offense which is a major consideration under criminal law. A general consideration and evidences will force through a procedural matter, which government enforces this substantive law—through the gathering of evidence and prosecution. Most state criminal laws subdivide felonies into different classes with varying degrees of punishment. Crimes that do not amount to felonies are misdemeanors or violations. A misdemeanor is misconduct for which the law prescribes punishment of no more than one year in prison. Lesser offenses, such as traffic and parking infractions, are often called violations and are considered a part of criminal law.
5.1 Objectives of criminal law
The main purposes of criminal laws are to lessen the harm individuals may cause to one another and keep order in society. Criminal laws create a standard of conduct that all residents and citizens are held accountable for. An individual who is charged with a major crime will go through the trial process. Then, a criminal sentence, or punishment is passed. Criminal punishments can include fines, jail/prison times, probation and other community based punishments. Five objectives are widely accepted for enforcement of the criminal law.
· Retribution : Criminals have the right to get proper justice but if they commit something terribly wrong they will suffer in some way. But this is not most widely seen goal. Criminals have taken improper advantage or inflicted unfair detriment, upon others and consequently, the criminal law will put criminals at some unpleasant disadvantage to “balance the scales”.
· Deterrence: Individual deterrence is aimed toward the specific offender. The aim is to impose a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from criminal behavior.
· Incapacitation : Designed simply to keep criminals away from society so that the public is protected from their misconduct.
· Rehabilitation : Aims at transforming an offender into a valuable member of society. Its primary goal is to prevent further offense by convincing the offender that their conduct was wrong.
· Restoration: This is a victim-oriented theory of punishment. The goal is to repair, through state authority, any injury inflicted upon the victim by the offender.
International criminal law is a subset of public international law, and is the main subject of these materials. While international law typically concerns inter-state relations, international criminal law concerns individuals. In particular, international criminal law places responsibility on individual persons—not states or organizations—and proscribes and punishes acts that are defined as crimes by international law. International criminal law also includes laws, procedures and principles relating to modes of liability, defenses, evidence, court procedure, sentencing, victim participation, witness protection, mutual legal assistance and cooperation issues. Each of these topics will be addressed in these materials.
International criminal law is a relatively new body of law, and aspects of it are neither uniform nor universal. These crimes comprise genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. They do not include piracy, terrorism, slavery, drug trafficking, or other international that do not amount to genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.
7.0 Reference List
· ROBERT CRYER, ET AL., AN INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE 4 (2d ed. 2010).
- Yves Beigbeder, Judging War Criminals. The Politics of International Justice. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999, xvii + 230 pp. ISBN 0-333-68153-3
· See S/Res/955 (1994), Nov. 8, 1994.
 See, e.g., Dapo Akande, The Sources of International Criminal Law, in OXFORD COMPANION TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW AND JUSTICE 41-53 (Cassese, et al. eds. 2009); CRYER, supra note 1, at 9-12.
See S/Res/955 (1994), Nov. 8, 1994.