Skip to main content

LUP Student Papers

LUND UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

Which Crimes Should Be Subjected to International Prosecution? - An Assessment of the Gravity Criterion under the Rome Statute

Atiyeh, Julia LU (2013) JURM02 20122
Department of Law
Abstract
This study examines the interpretation of the gravity criterion for situations and cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court). The Court was established to prevent impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern. Since the Court became operative it has dealt with several situations of mass atrocity. The OTP selects situations and cases according to their gravity.

Several examples of prosecutions being directed only at one side of a conflict has placed the Prosecutor in the firing line, being accused of delivering a distorted justice and for misinterpreting the concept of gravity.

In the Court’s first years, some African State parties referred the situations in their own countries to the Court.... (More)
This study examines the interpretation of the gravity criterion for situations and cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court). The Court was established to prevent impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern. Since the Court became operative it has dealt with several situations of mass atrocity. The OTP selects situations and cases according to their gravity.

Several examples of prosecutions being directed only at one side of a conflict has placed the Prosecutor in the firing line, being accused of delivering a distorted justice and for misinterpreting the concept of gravity.

In the Court’s first years, some African State parties referred the situations in their own countries to the Court. Prosecutions were mostly directed at rebel forces, which led to allegations of one–sided prosecutions that paved the way for impunity of State representatives.

Following the ‘Arabic spring’ atrocities has taken place when totalitarian States have tried to quell the popular uprisings that demanded democratic reforms. The United Nations Security Council (UN SC) has recently referred Libya to the ICC while the situation in Syria reached a dead end when a draft resolution aimed at also referring Syria to the Court was vetoed by China and Russia.

In the Libyan case only representatives from the Government have been addressed by the ICC despite accusations of international crimes also against the rebel forces. Is the Court thus still delivering a one–sided justice?

This paper examines two different ways of interpreting the gravity criterion, one that focuses on quantitative elements and one with focus on qualitative elements of gravity and then it interprets them on the Syrian situation as a potential case of either one– or two– sided justice.

The result is that neither one– nor two– sided prosecutions guarantee that the purposes of the Statute are fulfilled. The issue is rather to interpret the gravity criterion in a way that truly reflects the gravity of the perpetrated crimes with account to all circumstances. In order to that both quantitative and qualitative elements of gravity will have to be taken into consideration. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna uppsats utreder allvarlighetskriteriet för situationer och åtal i internationella brottmålsdomstolen. Domstolen kom till för att förhindra straffrihet för de grövsta internationella brotten. Efter att domstolen började verka har flera situationer i världen uppmärksammats av domstolen. Åklagarkammaren väljer ut situationer och enskilda mål mot bakgrund av allvarlighetskriteriet.

Flera exempel på åtal som bara riktar sig mot en sida av en konflikt har lett till kritik mot åklagaren för att leverera en snedvriden rättvisa och att felaktigt tolka kriteriet.

Under domstolens första år hänsköt några afrikanska länder sig själva till domstolen. Åtal riktades i dessa fall mot rebeller vilket ledde till anklagelser om ensidiga åtal som... (More)
Denna uppsats utreder allvarlighetskriteriet för situationer och åtal i internationella brottmålsdomstolen. Domstolen kom till för att förhindra straffrihet för de grövsta internationella brotten. Efter att domstolen började verka har flera situationer i världen uppmärksammats av domstolen. Åklagarkammaren väljer ut situationer och enskilda mål mot bakgrund av allvarlighetskriteriet.

Flera exempel på åtal som bara riktar sig mot en sida av en konflikt har lett till kritik mot åklagaren för att leverera en snedvriden rättvisa och att felaktigt tolka kriteriet.

Under domstolens första år hänsköt några afrikanska länder sig själva till domstolen. Åtal riktades i dessa fall mot rebeller vilket ledde till anklagelser om ensidiga åtal som banade väg för straffrihet för brott begångna av staten.

Efter den ‘arabiska våren’ utbröt blodiga strider när totalitära stater försökte kväsa oppositionella demonstranter med våld. FNs säkerhetsråd hänsköt situationen i Libyen till internationella brottmålsdomstolen medan försöket att också hänskjuta situationen i Syrien stagnerade när China och Ryssland lade in sina veton mot en sådan resolution.

I Libyen har bara representanter för den fallna regeringen åtalats av domstolen trots att anklagelser för krigsbrott också har riktats mot rebeller.
Är detta ännu ett exempel på ensidig rättvisa?

Denna uppsats utreder två olika tolkningar av allvarlighetskriteriet, en som fokuserar på kvantitativa aspekter och en som lyfter fram kvalitativa aspekter.

Slutsatser är att varken ensidiga åtal eller åtal som riktar sig mot flera grupper av gärningspersoner garanterar att konventionens syfte tillgodoses. Problemet är snarare att tolka allvarlighetskravet så att det reflekterar begångna brott och tar hänsyn till alla omständigheter. För att göra det är det viktigare att se till att både kvantitativa och kvalitativa sidor beaktas. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Atiyeh, Julia LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20122
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Criminal Law, Public International Law, Rome Statute, International Criminal Juctice, Gravity
language
English
id
3358619
date added to LUP
2013-02-22 08:12:01
date last changed
2013-09-23 08:00:54
@misc{3358619,
  abstract     = {This study examines the interpretation of the gravity criterion for situations and cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court). The Court was established to prevent impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern. Since the Court became operative it has dealt with several situations of mass atrocity. The OTP selects situations and cases according to their gravity. 

Several examples of prosecutions being directed only at one side of a conflict has placed the Prosecutor in the firing line, being accused of delivering a distorted justice and for misinterpreting the concept of gravity.

In the Court’s first years, some African State parties referred the situations in their own countries to the Court. Prosecutions were mostly directed at rebel forces, which led to allegations of one–sided prosecutions that paved the way for impunity of State representatives.

Following the ‘Arabic spring’ atrocities has taken place when totalitarian States have tried to quell the popular uprisings that demanded democratic reforms. The United Nations Security Council (UN SC) has recently referred Libya to the ICC while the situation in Syria reached a dead end when a draft resolution aimed at also referring Syria to the Court was vetoed by China and Russia.

In the Libyan case only representatives from the Government have been addressed by the ICC despite accusations of international crimes also against the rebel forces. Is the Court thus still delivering a one–sided justice?

This paper examines two different ways of interpreting the gravity criterion, one that focuses on quantitative elements and one with focus on qualitative elements of gravity and then it interprets them on the Syrian situation as a potential case of either one– or two– sided justice.

The result is that neither one– nor two– sided prosecutions guarantee that the purposes of the Statute are fulfilled. The issue is rather to interpret the gravity criterion in a way that truly reflects the gravity of the perpetrated crimes with account to all circumstances. In order to that both quantitative and qualitative elements of gravity will have to be taken into consideration.},
  author       = {Atiyeh, Julia},
  keyword      = {Criminal Law,Public International Law,Rome Statute,International Criminal Juctice,Gravity},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Which Crimes Should Be Subjected to International Prosecution? - An Assessment of the Gravity Criterion under the Rome Statute},
  year         = {2013},
}