Reflections: A Visit to The Hague

Posted By Sarah Anker, JILP Board, Aug 5, 2011

I recently spent two weeks in The Hague studying three prominent international bodies: the International Criminal Court (“ICC”), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”), and the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”).  When I returned to the United States I quickly found that most people are not exposed to the type of cases that these courts adjudicate or their relationship to our domestic court systems.  I believe that it is important for people interested in International Law to know the differences, so in this inaugural post, I will explain the basics of these three courts.

First, the ICTY and the ICJ were both established by the United Nations ("UN"); the ICC, however, was created by treaty.  The ICTY is an ad hoc or temporary criminal court that was established by the UN Security Council in May of 1993 to deal specifically with the atrocities that took place in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1991-2001. The ICTY is where Ratko Mladicć will be tried. 

Second, the ICJ is a permanent civil court that seeks to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States Parties to the UN and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and specialized agencies.

Third, the ICC is a permanent criminal court that has jurisdiction over 114 countries - not including the United States, China, or Russia - created to end impunity for the perpetrators of some of the most serious International Crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. 

I look forward to sharing more of what I learned while in The Hague and more specifically to apply it to what is going on in the MENA region today.

Please feel free to contribute submissions to our blog-- we look forward to contributions relevant to the theme for Volume 18 of the Journal as detailed above, designed to enliven and engage critical discourse around international law, emerging popular democratic movements, and the role of technology in our globalized world. 

Kindly submit your posts to me here.  We look forward to your contributions!