International Justice and the International Criminal Court: Between Sovereignty and the Rule of Law

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International Justice and the International Criminal Court: Between Sovereignty and the Rule of Law

By Bruce Broomhall
Oxford University Press, 2004
224 pp. $99.00
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In the aftermath of the Cold War, governments and human rights groups pushed for the creation of international legal mechanisms to hold individuals responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals set important precedents, and the 1998 adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court provided new institutional machinery. In this useful survey of the developing field of international criminal law, Broomhall situates these advancements in a broader context. What is distinctive about Nuremberg-inspired international criminal law is that it places responsibility on individuals rather than states and relies on such global norms as "international peace and security" and "the collective conscience of mankind." These norms of justice, however, have advanced much more quickly than have enforcement mechanisms, which remain firmly in the hands of sovereign states, and therein lies the rub. Broomhall nevertheless argues that globalization and the growth of international civil society have created a new "legitimation environment," in which governments are under increased pressure to justify their decisions and abide by global norms of accountability.