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  • Author: Alexander Orakhelashvili
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: It is indisputable that the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of serious international crimes is a fundamental policy of the international community. As the International Court of Justice emphasized in the Arrest Warrant case, the functionally and temporarily limited immunity of the foreign minister of the Congo was not the same as according impunity to that official, because the number of ways of prosecuting him remained intact ( Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000, Merits, General List No. 121, 14 February 2002, paras 60 – 61). The efforts to combat impunity for the perpetrators of serious crimes are conducted by two methods. The first method relates to establishing international tribunals, which has been the case since the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals in the aftermath of World War II. This method is limited, because international tribunals necessarily have limited jurisdiction. They cannot address the problems of impunity in general, but only those aspects of it which are covered by their mandate as specified in their statutes. Even if this mandate is quite general, as is the case with the International Criminal Court (ICC), the actual extent to which impunity will be combatted still depends on the voluntary decision of states to become party to the Statute. The second method reflects the limited nature of international criminal tribunals. The remaining problems of impunity are addressed through the exercise of jurisdiction by national courts. This is reflected in the fact that the multiplication of international criminal tribunals over the past 15 years has not caused any decline in the activities of national courts in this field. Quite the contrary; the growth of international criminal jurisdiction has been accompanied by the equally remarkable growth of national criminal jurisdiction to address international crimes, including those committed extraterritorially.
  • Topic: United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tokyo