How effective is the International Criminal Court?

Published 23 May 2014

ICCThe International Criminal Court (ICC) was established by the Rome Statute in 1998 to try and punish the perpetrators of some of the world’s worst crimes. But just how effective is this court, and how is it impacting on some of the serious situations of concern around the world? Linus Nnabuike Malu, a PhD student at the University of New England’s Centre for Peace Studies, will be exploring these questions in a public lecture at UNE on Friday May 30.

For too long, those who committed horrendous crimes during times of peace and times of conflict enjoyed impunity because there was simply no means to bring them to justice. In the second half of the 20th Century, this began to change, and in 1998 the ICC was established to exercise jurisdiction over crimes of international concern, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Mr Nnabuike Malu, an expert in conflict transformation, international criminal law and international humanitarian law, says following the 1998 Rome Statute of the Court, one of the main objectives of the ICC is to punish the perpetrators of these crimes, and thus contribute to the prevention of such crimes.

“Twelve years after the Rome Statute of the ICC came into force on the 1st of July, 2002, the Court has only completed three trials, and is currently investigating or prosecuting cases in fourteen countries,” Mr Nnabuike Malu explains.

“Controversies have dogged the court, raising concerns as to its effectiveness. My presentation will examine these concerns with specific reference to the situation in Uganda, which was the first case referred to the court in December, 2003.

“In 2005, the ICC issued its first arrest warrants for five leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) including Joseph Kony  – of the (in)famous social media campaign – who has been waging war in northern Uganda and surrounding countries since 1987.

“Unimaginable atrocities, such as children being forced to kill their parents, abductions, and mutilations have been committed by parties to this conflict. Over a million people were forced to live in appalling conditions in more than two hundred displacement camps in northern Uganda. From a Peace Studies perspective, I will focus on the impact of the ICC intervention on the peace process in Uganda.”

Mr Nnabuike Malu holds a Masters degree in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes from the University for Peace in Costa Rica, and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Jos in Nigeria. He was a legal practitioner in Nigeria and also worked with non-government organisations there, where he coordinated the implementation of several research projects on human security and conflict transformation.

The seminar will take place on Friday 30 May from 9:30-10:30am in Arts Lecture Theatre A3 at UNE. All are welcome to attend.

For further information, please contact Karin von Strokirch: kvonstro@une.edu.au