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The Legacy of Crimes and Crises

Transitional Justice, Domestic Change and the Role of the International Community


Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Dorota Heidrich

The book shows how transitional justice experiences influence domestic change and what the role of the international community in these processes is. It is divided into three thematic parts. The first one presents regional and local transitional justice efforts, aiming at showing different mechanisms implemented within transitional justice mechanisms. The following part deals with the role and impact of international criminal tribunals set up to prosecute grave human rights abuses. The third part is devoted to the role of the international community in mass atrocity crimes prevention. The contributions prove that transitional justice measures are not universal. Rather, they must be characterized by the principle of local ownership and be crafted to circumstances on the ground.
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Isabelle Tallec - The Role of International Criminal Justice in French Foreign Policy


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Isabelle Tallec

The Role of International Criminal Justice in French Foreign Policy

On July 17, 1998 the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted by 120 states. For the first time in the history of mankind, states decided to accept the jurisdiction of a permanent international criminal court for the prosecution of the most serious crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression – committed in their territories or by their nationals.1 As a preamble to the Rome Statute, which defines and regulates the powers of the Court, the States Parties declared that crimes, which “threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world […] must not go unpunished” and assigned the Court with the ambitious goal of “putting an end to impunity for the perpetrators” to “thus contribute to the prevention of such crimes.”

Only four years after the founding treaty was signed and successfully ratified and after the Prosecutor had received a substantial number of communications, the Court quickly became confrontedwith a number of legal and political challenges during its early investigations. Its early years were thus marked by a rather mixed record, with discreet investigations, low international visibility, and a controversial indictment policy, in which the majority of the accused, such as Thomas Lubanga, were described as “small fish”. The court’s exclusive focus on the African continent (with regard to arrest warrants and investigations) and its mixed reception by the local people presented...

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