International Crimes and Justice Systems

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 5
Words: 1162
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College


The process of globalization has brought many benefits and challenges. An increase in the rate of crime is one of the main challenges brought by the process of globalization (Carter & Pocar, 2013). Criminals are not just becoming advanced, they are also becoming diverse. They regularly engage in systematic forms of collaboration with the aim of advancing their criminal acts (Carter & Pocar, 2013). This paper discusses international crimes as well as the international criminal justice systems specifically set up to address these crimes. Then the paper will compare how these crimes are dealt with in the international domain. Although countries have justice systems that are of international nature, the paper will emphasize the ICC, the international tribunals, and the Truth justice systems created to address crimes at international levels.

Crimes against Humanity

Crimes against humanity are offenses against innocent civilians. They are committed in a manner that is systematic and can occur during peace or war times (Carter & Pocar, 2013). They include, although not limited to murder, massacre, deportation, and persecution. These crimes are usually directed against innocent civilians. They are punishable under international law.


Genocide is the intentional act of causing destruction to people (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). It can also be a specific group in a country, such as an ethnic, religious, or racial group. Genocide is a crime of international nature and their perpetrators usually have the intention to wipe out a certain group of people within a country or territory (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). Genocide is a crime under international law. International law prohibits such crime as genocide whether the perpetrators are state officials or private individuals.

War Crimes and Aggression

Under international law, war crimes violate international humanitarian laws (Carter & Pocar, 2013). These crimes comprise intentional killing, inhuman treatment of people, intentionally causing excruciating pain or suffering to the general public, or a group of people. The international humanitarian law was adopted for the first time in the 1949 when signing the Geneva Convention (Dammer & Albanese, 2013).

Acts of aggression occur when a state illegally invades another country (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). According to the United Nations Charter, any country that attacks another without permission from the United Nation Security Council is actually engaging in acts of aggression.

Criminal Justice System

At the international level, there are systems of justice that are created to pursue certain crimes of international nature (Carter & Pocar, 2013). Several special international criminal tribunals and courts are created by the United Nations basing on the need or available cases to provide justice to the victims and perpetrators (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). One of these special courts is in Rwanda and the other is in Yugoslavia. These special tribunals and courts derive their powers from the International Criminal Court based in the Netherlands.

International Tribunals

In Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal was created in the early 1990s (Carter & Pocar, 2013). Its aim was to deal with the perpetrators of war crimes involving the Balkans. In Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal was created in 1994 to deal with serious crimes or simply genocide committed to innocent civilians. Under international tribunals, judges are appointed by the presidency of ICC. They follow the same procedure as those espoused at local levels (Carter & Pocar, 2013). They commence by investigating those who are alleged to have committed the crime. Once found to have a case to answer the preceding procedure to the full trail. When found guilty, the perpetrator is sentenced for life imprisonment or many years of community service.

Special Courts

Unlike the International Criminal Tribunals, special courts are created with the permission or co-operation of the home country (Carter & Pocar, 2013). Some of these include the Sierra Leone special court which was established in 2002 to address or try perpetrators of civil war crimes. So far, so many people have been tried and so many imprisoned upon being found culpable (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). Another special court was established in East Timor in 2000. This special court was intended to try perpetrators of such cases as torture, massacre, and rape. These courts usually pursue war related crimes. With special courts, the perpetrators of crime are usually known as they are formed upon receiving the request from a local government (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). They undertake preliminary investigation to ascertain the truthfulness of the allegation, once it is established, the courts will commence to full trail listening from defenses and accusers. Once the perpetrators are proven guilty, they are sentenced for life imprisonment. A good example is what happened in East Timor in 2000 where those who were found guilty were sentenced for life.

Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commissions

In situations where people commit crimes or seriously violate human rights, the concerned authorities may choose to set up Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commissions (TJRCs) (Carter & Pocar, 2013). The TJRCs function like courts of law, but is different from the special courts and tribunals in that it does not have any prosecutorial powers. The emphasis of TJRC is to heal and reunite people (Carter & Pocar, 2013). It handles crime against humanity and genocide crimes. Here, the commission undertakes the responsibility to collect evidence from the public in open sittings. Once they have completed their evidence gathering mission, the TJRC compiles the report indicating the core and minor perpetrators of crime (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). Instead of taking people to court, the report is handed to the head of state who then institutes the healing process. In this case, those people who are adversely mentioned are supposed to come forward, accept their mistakes and seek forgiveness from the victims and the nation at large.


Each crime is usually addressed depending on the jurisdiction of the court. For instance, the ICC has jurisdiction to hear all cases related to international crime. Upon receiving of the request to pursue a case, the prosecutor undertakes the investigation to gather enough evidence to be used at trial or to dismiss the case all together. If the person, terrorist, war criminal or aggressor is found to have something to answer at first trial, the case is taken to second trial to ascertain whether the person is guilty or not. If he is found guilty, he is then sentenced mostly for life imprisonment or many years of community service.

Tribunals are almost similar to the ICC. They entertain mostly minor criminals of war crimes or genocide. They follow the same procedure as ICC. When found guilty, the most common punishment is many years of community service. When it comes to truth justice and reconciliation commissions, they usually handle atrocities that have been committed within a country and it is the best way forward to unite a country. In this case, the TJRC will investigate all perpetrators of crime, their motive and who they affected. In the end, the commission will require that both the perpetrators and victims come forward to forgive each other.


Carter, L., & Pocar, F. (2013). International criminal procedure: the interface of civil law and common law legal systems. Cheltenham, UK.: Edward Elgar.

Dammer, H., & Albanese, J. (2013). Comparative criminal justice systems. Belmont, CA, : Wadsworth Cengage Learning.