Argument: ICC brings order to a past of ad hoc tribunals

Issue Report: International Criminal Court


Benjamin B. Ferencz, J.D. Harvard 1943 and a Former Nuremberg War Crimes Prosecutor. “Response to Henry Kissinger’s essay ‘The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction’.” 2 July 2001 – Mr. Kissinger makes an argument that, when needed, the Security Council can create additional ad hoc tribunals. Until the ICC is fully functional ad hoc courts may prove to be unavoidable to curb some of the more outrageous cases of impunity. But a bevy of independent courts is hardly an adequate deterrent to universal crimes. Justice regarding the most serious crimes in the world cannot depend upon the political whim of those who control the United Nations. The crimes must be spelled out in advance and not condemned only retroactively. Temporary courts created a la carte are very costly and lack the uniformity required by an international legal system.

Statement by Mr. Dilip Lahiri, Additional Secretary (UN). “Explanation of vote on the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court”. Embassy of India. 17 July 1998 – The power to refer is now unnecessary. The Security Council set up the ad hoc tribunals because no judicial mechanism then existed to try the extraordinary crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. Now, however, the ICC would exist and States Parties would have the right to refer cases to it. The Security Council does not need to refer cases, unless the right given to it is predicated on two assumptions. First, that the Council’s referral would be more binding on the Court than other referrals; this would clearly be an attempt to influence justice. Second, it would imply that some members of the Council do not plan to accede to the ICC, will not accept the obligations imposed by the Statute, but want the privilege to refer cases to it. This too is unacceptable.