Preamble section 2:
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Concepts and Ideas

  1. Nuremberg Trials
  2. Rwanda/Yugoslavia
  3. Four Freedoms (1)
  4. Four Freedoms (2)

The International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the International Criminal Court: Contemporary International Tribunals

Many of the individuals involved in the Nuremberg prosecutions hoped that they would lay the foundation for a permanent international criminal court. In fact, the Genocide Convention refers in Article [__] to the prospect of a future “international tribunal.” Although there was significant interest in pursuing this possibility in the intermediate aftermath of World War II, the political will to establish such a court dissipated as Cold War tensions set in. Half a century would pass before states would once again cooperate to create a tribunal with jurisdiction over international crimes.

Atrocities committed during successive conflicts in the former Yugoslavia beginning in 1991 provided the impetus for the Security Council to establish an ad hoc criminal tribunal: the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991 (the “International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia” or the “ICTY”). Shortly afterwards a similar ad hoc tribunal was set up to try those individuals responsible for the genocide in Rwanda in 1994: the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda or “ICTR.” These developments, in turn, drew attention among the United Nations members to the need for a permanent international court. After the International Law Commission drafted a statute for such a court, states met to negotiate the details of it from 1995 to 1998, concluding a treaty for this purpose at a conference in Rome in June 1998. The 60 ratifications necessary for the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) to enter into force are already substantially collected and it is expected that the ICC will be up and finally instituted in late 2002.


For further discussion on the ad hoc tribunals and the proposed ICC, see Henkin, Human Rights, at 618 ff.

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Peter Danchin, Columbia University