Maurizio Arcari

A Vetoed International Criminal Justice? Cursory Remarks on the Current Relationship Between the UN Security Council and International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Maintenance of Peace and Security; International Criminal Justice; Fight Against Impunity; UN Security Council; International Criminal Court; Ad Hoc International or Internationalized Criminal Tribunals

The article deals with the general issue of the relationship between the maintenance of peace and security and the international criminal justice, by focusing on the impact of recent actions by the UN Security Council on the functioning of international criminal courts and tribunals. From a general point of view, the UN Security Council is taking seriously the issue of the fight against impunity and the role of international criminal courts in this field, as the UN membership at large considers this aspect as critical for ensuring the respect of the rule of law in the maintenance of peace and security. However, recent practice relating to specific cases, such as the failure to trigger the ICC jurisdiction with respect to the situation in Syria, the failure to ensure adequate follow-up to ICC action with respect to the referral of the situation in Sudan, or the failed attempt to establish an ad hoc criminal tribunal for the downing of the flight MH17 in Ukraine, reveals that the political imbalance governing the UN Security Council may seriously undermine the perspectives and the outcomes of the fight against impunity. Insofar as this political imbalance can be considered as an inescapable part of the relationship between the UN system of collective security and the system of international criminal justice, the only current option to avoid a 'vetoed international criminal justice' seems to insist on the proposals calling for a responsible exercise of the veto right by the UN Security Council permanent members in cases involving international crimes and mass atrocities.

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