The International Criminal Court Between Aspiration and Achievement

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Damaska, Mirjan R
article description
This article discusses an important paradox in international criminal law enforcement. On the one hand, international criminal courts attempt to tackle issues of extreme significance, and are often more ambitious than national courts of justice. However, on the other hand, these international courts often lack enforcement powers. This gap between aspirations and realization creates ammunition for the enemies of such courts and challenges their legitimacy. Despite the apparent powerlessness of international criminal courts, some, such as the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, have successfully convicted a number of human rights abusers. Unfortunately, the permanent International Criminal Court has not enjoyed such success. This article describes how the ICC's normative framework increases the likelihood of disparity between its promise and achievement, and presents solutions for the closing of this gap.