International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Jurisdiction of the ICC

No Prospect of Trials in Syria

The ongoing conflict in Syria has produced massive atrocities on both sides, as documented in numerous pictures, videos, and other evidence. Despite the proof of crimes, the International Criminal Court is unlikely to prosecute Syrian president Assad. Because Syria is not a signatory to the ICC statute, a trial would require a referral by the United Nations Security Council. Russia, who has a permanent seat on the council, has so far supported Assad and blocked any condemnation of human rights violations. This shows a limitation of the ICC; its jurisdiction is restricted by political considerations, meaning that it is incapable of evenly distributing justice.

A potential solution lies in the concept of universal jurisdiction; a court from another state could try President Assad for severe human rights abuses. However, the likelihood of this occurring in such a politically charged situation, particularly when the universal jurisdiction laws of many nations carry restrictions, is low.

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