Law Publications

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Montreal, Quebec


McGill Law Journal


The authors review the decades of discussion and years of negotiation that led to the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998. By placing the creation of the International Criminal Court in its historical context, they emphasize the significance of the statute and the Court for international law. The lecture discusses various provisions of the statute, highlighting controversial aspects such as the jurisdiction of the Court and the crime of aggression. The statute reflects the compromises struck throughout the negotiations, compromises that are a necessary part of multilateral diplomacy. Though it was not possible to reconcile fully the concerns of all states, the authors point out that the statute achieves an important balance that allows for widespread support from the international community while establishing an institution that has the power to punish those responsible for the most serious crimes in international law. That this balance is a success is, in the authors' view, reflected in the ever-growing levels of support for the Court They detail the challenges faced by the Preparatory Commission in transforming the Court from a statutory model to a working judicial institution. Finally, the authors examine the positive impact that ratification and implementation of the statute is having on reform of domestic laws criminalizing genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.


Originally published in the McGill Law Journal.

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