GoJIL Vol. 1, No. 1 (2009)
Prosecuting the Leaders: Promises, Politics and Practicalities
Given recent developments in relation to the prosecution of international crimes, it might be thought that one of the last bastions of sovereignty has been breached, and international criminal law has not only entrenched itself in international law. Indeed further to this, it has assumed a supranational position that stands entirely above States, promising justice for all and as a trump card over depredations committed in the name of State sovereignty. After all, Charles Taylor from Liberia is standing trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Slobodan Milošević only escaped judgment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by dying before the end of his trial, Saddam Hussein was prosecuted and sentenced to death before the Iraqi High Tribunal, and Omar al-Bashir has recently been the subject of a request for an arrest warrant from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Surely international criminal law reaches its iconographic apogee with the prosecution of such leaders, brought down to size by the majesty of the law (if not the grandeur of the often aseptic courtrooms)?
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