On Monday we had a really great opportunity to tour The International Criminal Courts. The Nuremberg Trials, which persecuted Nazis after the war took place in in a court similar to the ICC. When we walked in we were welcomed and given the history of the International Criminal Courts. The goal of the ICC is to try perpetrators that have committed the most serious crimes that effect places all around the world. These crimes include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal justice systems. We also learned about the four organs of the court: The Presidency, The Office of the Prosecutor, The Registry and The Divisions. The Presidency is made up of the president and two Vice Presidents whom are responsible for administration of the court, minus the Office of the Prosecutor. The Office of the Prosecutor receives and analyzes referrals and communications. This organ determines weather there is a reasonable basis to investigate. The Registry helps to provide protective mechanisms for witnesses, assist the defense teams and conduct outreach activities. The Divisions organ are made up of three Divisions, Pre-Trial, Trail and Appeals. 18 judges are spread out between the three divisions and are chosen from candidates from around the world. The judges are responsible for ensuring that the trails are fair and that justice is met. These selected judges are able to serve a term of 9 years and cannot be reelected. All four organs work together to prosecute criminals from all different parts of the world.
After learning about how the ICC came about and how it works, we were able to sit in on a criminal hearing. The hearing concerned crimes against humanity in the context of the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya. The case concerned two men from Kenya that were accused of being criminally responsible for war crimes. It was really interesting to see how a trial in the ICC proceeds. As of right now, the ICC has 9 current investigations, 8 preliminary examinations, 27 arrest warrants, 9 summonses to appear and 7 persons in custody. If you are interested in viewing current cases that the ICC is investigating, you can read more at www.icc-cpi.int
-Mallory and Heather