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The International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect

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Abstract

The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) are two interconnected enterprises that seek to ensure that the world responds to mass atrocities, without however abandoning the primary responsibility of the states concerned. The RtoP is confined to four specific crimes — genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing — which are exactly the crimes that also fall under the jurisdiction ratione materiae of the ICC, together with the crime of aggression.1 Nonetheless, the RtoP is not limited to a reaction to atrocity crimes but constitutes a more holistic approach to addressing crisis situations, based on the idea that the response requires a non-military intervention by the international community that starts with preventative measures. What is more, most agree that prevention is the most important aspect of the RtoP, since the best way to protect populations from mass atrocities is to ensure that they do not occur in the first place (Rosenberg, 2009; Stamnes, 2009). Huber and Blätter even proclaim that “[t]he essence of the Responsibility to Protect is best characterized as international crimes prevention” (Huber and Blätter, 2012: p. 33). In the 2009 Report of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect”, the ICC is characterized as an institution that can act through dissuasion and deterrence, as just one of the atrocity prevention instruments under the third pillar of the RtoP designed to prevent or halt future atrocities (United Nations, 2009: para. 18).

Keywords

  • Security Council
  • International Criminal Court
  • International Criminal
  • Rome Statute
  • International Crime

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© 2015 Mathias Holvoet and Medlir Mema

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Holvoet, M., Mema, M. (2015). The International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect. In: Fiott, D., Koops, J. (eds) The Responsibility to Protect and the Third Pillar. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137364401_3

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