International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

French hand over Rwandan Rebel Leader to ICC

I know it was a few weeks ago, but I was reading through recent ICC news in the New York Times, and came across news regarding France expressing their right to universal jurisdiction. The French police arrested and detained a Rwandan rebel leader by the name of Callixte Mbarushimana, who fled Rwanda to Paris until the French police arrested him in October. The ICC wanted him on charges of rape, murder, torture and other atrocities committed during a terror campaign against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kivu region.

This is significant because it is another case showing the international community’s cooperation with the ICC and  human rights as a whole. I know in class a few people were questioning the overall reality of universal jurisdiction, and whether or not smaller less influential states would have the ability to exercise this concept. I cannot really answer the second part of that, but it is clear now that states like France support the ICC and the exercise of punishment for war crimes/crimes against humanity. So if universal jurisdiction is something that is not only allowed but encouraged, then this goes back to the same question…why would the United States feel as though they need to join the ICC? Being one of the most powerful states on the globe, and essentially being able to go in to any state necessary to either achieve a political or social goal hardly makes signing the Rome Statute very convincing. If they were to sign it, however, now instead of having the ability to exercise universal jurisdiction anyway without immediate penalties put on US nationals, they would be subject to international review.

Does the fact that states have to exercise universal jurisdiction because the International Criminal Court does not have the power to make certain arrests/detain certain individuals ultimately allow individuals to lose faith in the ICC as a judiciary? Can we really blame those who have been affected by war crimes or crimes against humanity that feel as though the ICC indicting people is not effective enough?


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