chapter  7
17 Pages

The limits of collaborative action on international criminal justice in East Asia

BySORPONG PEOU

International criminal justice as a ‘public good’ has now become an essential component of recent global efforts to promote human security around the world. 1 Important progress has been made, especially with the establishment of ad hoc international criminal tribunals (such as the International Criminal Tribunal in Yugoslavia, ICTY in 1991, and the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda, ICTR in 1994) and the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July 2002. The ICC marked a new era in world politics, as its founding members succeeded for the fi rst time in history in establishing a permanent international institution of criminal justice not associated with any particular confl ict. Another innovative effort to promote this type of justice is the more recent establishment of hybrid (domestic-international) criminal courts for crimes committed in wartorn countries such as Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and Cambodia. 2

As a legal mechanism for the promotion of human security, international criminal justice is worth examining for several reasons. It is now believed to have more potential than military intervention in terms of terminating war and building peace. There also appears to be a growing international fatigue with military actions taken to protect victims of human rights violations: ‘Recent history has … bolstered arguments for criminalization over intervention. The American and European left, despite humanitarian impulses, have grown increasingly uneasy with the use of military force’. 3 Many UN offi cials also ‘view the resort to force as a diplomatic and legal failure’. 4 Moreover, the pursuit of criminal justice has a relatively low cost; UN peacekeeping missions, for instance, cost somewhere between $2-3 billion per year, whereas the ICC would cost only $10 million annually when ‘at rest’ and approximately $100 million when ‘in action’. 5 Because the ICC is funded mostly by state party assessments, states would fi nd such modest costs more bearable and would thus be willing to support its actions.