We might say that today’s holiday is celebrated by the underdogs of the World in the struggle to be heard against the clamor of the major powers. It has taken many years to develop a system of international criminal justice. That system is only slightly successful, so far.
Today is the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, the agreement that created the International Criminal Court, ICC. The goal has been to properly deal with international crimes and take effective, punative measures against the perpetrators. Longterm solutions to injustice will eventually need to be instituted at the domestic level.
International Justice Day or the World Day for International Justice was adopted by a vote of 120 to 7. Interestingly, the seven nations that voted against the Treaty of Rome on July 17, 1996 were: Libya, Iraq, Israel, People’s Republic of China, United States, Qatar, and Yemen. Because these seven nations can easily exercise strategic and economic power, the majority of international crimes continue not to be addressed and dealt with fairly.
The day of commemoration is less a day of celebration and more a day of consciousness raising in the international community. Events and meetings are held with the idea of raising public awareness and generating support for real justice and the struggle against impunity. In short, work remains to be done in order to bring justice and redress to the satisfaction of the victims of gross crimes. The most serious crimes are of concern to the entire World.
Some of the recent criminal behavior includes serious crimes against women, children, and sexual minorities currently happening in various nations. Other examples include the genocides in Darfur and Falun Dafa.
Opposition to the International Criminal Court and its activities come from those nations that are largely responsible for aggression, usurpation of basic human rights, and infringements on civil rights. Many of the countries discourage adequate protection from cruel and unusual punishment.
Some of the international crimes result in problems of ethnic, gender, religious, homophobic, and racial discrimination and repression. Such problems lead to ever worsening serious social and economic injustice and problems. These situations further fuel domestic insurrections and international conflicts and wars of aggression.
Furthermore, directly or indirectly, some nations fail to ensure that individuals are provided basic necessities of life, like access to food and shelter. The problem of huge discrepancies in wealth is another symptom of underlying unjust behavior that is condoned by political entities.
Of more concern, are the crimes against humanity and war crimes. Wars and insurrections cause certain individuals to commit acts that violate the rules set forth by international agreements. Most troublesome are countries that enable human rights violations like torture, genocide, and slavery. These are severe violations of the most basic human rights to physical safety and life.
Because dominant political forces and nations have the ability to inflict widespread harm and repress minorities, most efforts to address social injustice are ineffective by design and frequently fail when those powers prescribe them.
In order to effectively address and eliminate injustice, we need to understand the underlying causes of international crime. These include international pressures, economic issues, underdevelopment, political struggles, religious strife, and other social pressures.
International Justice Day promotes ways to remedy violations of political and human rights by empowering subordinate groups and opening up the processes of decision-making. This enables a culture of public participation and social structural change. Examples might include election monitoring, democratization efforts, and economy building, to name just a few.
To address these issues, international humanitarian law has been enacted, through the years, to protect people, especially during conflicts. When violations of human and civil rights occur, the perpetrators should be brought to justice. The crimes are brought to the attention of war crimes tribunals and international bodies. The International Criminal Court is one of those institutions. Justice and the justice system are important ingredients to make sure that all people are treated fairly and with equanimity.