Another aspect of public international law is international criminal law. It is a body of legal system that governs international crimes. Now, every nation has their own set of values and principles and expect other nations to respect the same. However, there are times when two countries cannot co-exist peacefully. As such international laws help such countries to live together harmoniously and maintain balance that will work for both nations. For example: Kahmir has been the focal point of discussion between India and Pakistan for very long time and continues to be so.
“Treaties serve as a source of international criminal law, either directly or indirectly. Direct sources of international criminal law are treaty-based international criminal legislation or conventions. Subsidiary sources, on the other hand, are those that come indirectly from existing agreements. The International Military Tribunals and The Rome Statute (1988), which contain a list of crimes and procedures for prosecuting them, are legal sources that have emerged directly from treaty formulations. Additional legal sources include The Hague Convention (1907), the Geneva Conventions (1949) and its additional protocols, the Genocide Convention (1949), and The Torture Convention (1984). As a result of the formation of treaties, all these conventions were formed. The statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), were both formed in response to UN Security Council Resolutions 827 and 955, respectively, are other treaty-based sources of international criminal law.”
WHAT ARE WAR CRIMES?
War crimes are international crimes that violate various international, criminal, and humanitarian laws. “War crimes are crimes that come under the collective name of ‘core international crimes’. Core international crimes are some of the gravest crimes in international law, examples of them can include the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture.” The two most gruesome war crimes that took place in the history of mankind was the International Military Tribunal for the Far East also abbreviated as IMTFE, and also known as Tokyo Trial or Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal) and the Nuremberg Trials. Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines war crimes as well as these two trials paved way for the legal system to broaden the scope of war crimes as well.
“International law is a system of norms that is necessary to regulate the behavior of nations or states toward one another in order to maintain international peace and welfare. International law exists to keep the world in order and sustain peace, as well as to resolve numerous conflicts between nations/states and individuals and to protect fundamental rights. Internal laws may be influenced by international law, and international law may become part of domestic law. The role of International Criminal Law contains a number of general principles that form the foundations and conditions for holding individuals criminally responsible for crimes under international law like genocide war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, and other crimes against the peace and security of mankind. However, there are still a number of flaws like international terrorism, religion, environment, and new patterns of war and peace that are causing international relations to deteriorate so there is a need for proper implementation of the same.”
Additional crimes that would come under the purview of international law are:
- Human trafficking,
- Slave Trade,
- Terrorist activities, to name a few.
These crimes become “international” by their very nature. For example: Italian nationals killing an Indian national in the territorial waters of India, or and Indian murdering in the American soil. If crimes are carried out in more than one country than that would constitute as transborder crimes. “Crimes can also be committed in international zones such as the high seas or international airspace. Efforts to repress such crimes become internationalized out of necessity, reflecting the practicalities of preventing acts that sometimes easily elude national jurisdictions. When ordinary crimes cross the threshold and become international crimes, important consequences ensue. Most significantly, general legal rules on the exercise of jurisdiction no longer apply. Under international law, a national criminal-justice system may prosecute crimes committed within the state’s own territory or by its nationals but not, as a general rule, crimes committed outside its borders by nonnationals. This rule, however, has been relaxed in the case of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Under what is known as universal jurisdiction, national courts may prosecute these offenses no matter where or by whom they are committed.”