More than 200 years ago in his work "Perpetual Peace,"' Immanuel Kant called for peace and human rights to be protected under international law. Ever since, the United Nations, which was founded in 1945 as part of the worldwide fight against tyranny and heinous crimes, has been considering the idea of setting up a permanent International Criminal Court (or "Court"). Already in 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948 ("Convention") demanded the creation of an international tribunal. In 1993 and 1994, the Security Council of the United Nations established the International Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia 4 and for Rwanda. In July 1998 an overwhelming majority of States-including Germany-adopted the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (or "Statute"). By the end of November, the third meeting of the Preparatory Commission for this Court will begin in order to complete the necessary preparatory work for the entry into force of the Statute. Germany wholeheartedly contributes to these efforts in order to ensure that the Court can commence its work in the next years. The general debate of the fifty-fourth U.N. General Assembly focused in an unprecedented manner on the question of humanitarian intervention versus State sovereignty. These "milestones" roughly describe the increasingly dynamic development of international law and politics in the fight against genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. They describe a long journey, which is still far from over.
Part I addresses the background and basis of the signatories of the Convention. Part II discusses Germany’s policy belief that there is no peace without justice. Part III discusses the positive impact that the establishment of the International Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda (and other ad hoc tribunals) have had, but also how the effort falls short of universal justice. Part III A. outlines the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as a quantum leap in the development of international law. Part III B. addresses the process of ratifying the Rome Statute as well as a description of the establishment of a Preparatory Commission. Part IV discusses sovereignty versus humanitarian intervention, the principle of non-use of force versus effective protection of human rights. Part V discusses the importance of developing the existing U.N. system in such a way that in the future it is able to intervene in good time in cases of very grave human rights violations, but not until all means of settling conflicts peacefully have been exhausted and-this is a crucial point-within a strictly limited legal and controlled framework.
From Nuremberg to Rome and Beyond: The Fight Against Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity,
23 Fordham Int'l L.J. 404
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol23/iss2/7