Show Less
Full access


A Political Theory for Our Time


Edited By Lucio Levi, Giampiero Bordino and Antonio Mosconi

This volume is a collection of essays published between 1999 and 2015 in the review The Federalist Debate. The book highlights the issue of federalism intended as a theoretical paradigm to interpret the major problems of our age, and in particular the issues of peace and war in a world characterized by an uncontrolled globalization.

Show Summary Details
Full access

The ICC is a Reality International Law Applied over Individuals

← 448 | 449 →

The ICC is a Reality International Law Applied over Individuals*

William R. PACE

On April 11, 2002 ten nations simultaneously deposited their instruments of ratification to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (RS) taking the number of nations ratifying the ICC treaty from 56 to 66 and triggering the entry into force of the new system of international criminal justice on July 1, 2002. In the address to the special ratification plenary at the UN, the World Federalist Movement, speaking on behalf of the NGO Coalition for the ICC, recalled our statement in Rome in 1998, that world history has almost always been the story of wars won and peace lost, but that the RS represented a historic achievement by the international community in which peace has won and war lost.

The World Federalist Movement (WFM) was founded to promote the vision of a world in which the global rule of law would replace the rule of violence, brute power and anarchy. The WFM worldwide peace movement was essentially alone in the 1945-52 period in recognizing that the great institutions established at the end of WWII were fundamentally flawed and democratically deficient.

The rush by most WWII victors to reoccupy their empires, the victors control in UN Charter, the victors justice of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, and the victors one-dollar-one-vote control of the Bretton Woods institutions all foreclosed the possibility of the UN being able to achieve its most fundamental purpose, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”

The fear of the world plunging into world war III wherein the use of atomic weapons would incinerate most of human life and civilization motivated the world federalists, like Emery Reves, Einstein, and Russell to call for world government and world peace through world law. International treaties and step by step disarmament efforts were proclaimed illusory because, they argued, the step by step forces that lead to war always proceed faster. They did not like it but they reluctantly argued that if it required an autocratic world government imposed by the USA and Russia, perhaps with the UK and France, to “outlaw” war then ← 449 | 450 → this was far preferable to the “better dead than Red” political-military mindset of the USA. They argued that it was better to establish world government and then fight to make it democratic, if that was necessary to avoid certain nuclear war. They had been through two terrible “world wars” in less than 30 years.

The Cold War descended upon the world, the disastrous efforts of WWII victors to reoccupy their empires turned into 45 years of wars of independence and decolonization, and the world federalists were almost marginalized out of existence by the Realpolitik of “mutual assured destruction.” The dangerousness, recklessness and insanity of world politics in the Cold War may never be properly recorded.

It is wonderfully ironic that after 40 years wandering in the wilderness the first really focused and successful global project of the World Federalist Movement was to help organize and lead the effort to create a permanent International Criminal Court. It is a treaty, but it is a treaty establishing international law not only between nation states, but international law over individuals. States and UN officials are describing the ICC as the greatest advance in international law since the founding of the UN. The USA claims the Rome Statute is “supranational” and threatens to undermine both national sovereignty and the exclusive powers given to the UN Security Council in the Charter. It will be decades before we know the fate of the ICC, and years before historians will explain why this extraordinary effort succeeded, and why it proceeded so quickly, achieving 60 ratifications five to twenty-five years faster than almost all experts predicted in 1998. I believe historians will recognize that in addition to the much-heralded economic globalization sweeping the planet in the late 20th century, the globalization of democracy, justice and the rule of law was also extending throughout the world. Emery Reves made a powerful case in 1945 that unless the collision between industrialization and nationalism was vanquished by law there was no hope for the survival of civilization. Since WWII, the victimization of civilians in war has, incredibly, increased three-fold! The ICC represents not only a major step forward in the development of international democracy, it represents a major step forward in the goal to rid the world of the scourge of war.

* Published in Issue 2/2002.