The international system of justice has made many advances over the years. However, it has also faced many challenges, some of which it continues to battle with today. Broadly speaking, critics view the international justice system as far more ineffective and inefficient than originally intended.
Issues include the location of courts and tribunals, the lack of witness and victim protection, and the struggle to bring together court personnel, to name a few. Below, Andrew H Campbell of Omaha, NE delves into these challenges and how they have undermined the efficacy of the system of international justice.
Andrew H Campbell Omaha NE is a recognized national and international speaker on peace leadership. He is the Director of the International Peace and Leadership Institute and a retired senior military officer who also works for the Department of Defense specializing in Counterterrorism and Global Security Cooperation.
Campbell’s area of expertise lies in providing training programs on a leader’s role in the international, national, and nongovernmental organization designed for conflict prevention, specifically for conflict resolution practitioners conducting and executing peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding activities within the post-conflict resolution and peaceful leadership.
Location Of Courts
Firstly, Andrew H Campbell of Omaha, NE, claims that one major challenge within the international justice system is the often-faraway locations of the courts. Wherever international cases are tried, such as in international criminal tribunals or in national courts, the location is typically nowhere near where the alleged crime was committed.
This physical distance has many negative consequences, one being that it makes the proceedings less accessible to witnesses and even to victims, who might be living on another continent. Also, trying the crime outside of the country that it occurred in means that the case may not receive nearly as much attention or visibility as it would if it had been tried at home.
Further, gathering evidence becomes much more difficult when people must travel across the globe to obtain it. In some instances, they are faced with corrupt governments who refuse to cooperate, which can mean that the defense is unable to gain access to their defendant. The foreign location of the court also poses a challenge in the way of language.
Hiring translators is not only costly but slows the pace of a trial. Finally, Andrew H Campbell asserts that the international justice system is let down by the locations of courts because this distance makes it harder for those involved to understand the political, social, and cultural contexts in which the crimes took place.
Witness And Victim Protection
Witness and victim protection, or total lack thereof in some cases, pose a significant challenge to international justice. Andrew H Campbell of Omaha, NE, highlights the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) as a prime example of this. Both witnesses and victims in trials conducted by the ICTR complained of being treated with a lack of sensitivity.
The causes of this are believed to stem from a lack of communication with victims and witnesses, as well as insufficient follow-up. Andrew H Campbell asserts these problems are a product of the disconnected nature of the international justice system. With court personnel from all over the world and no successful international justice model to look to, communication barriers are common.
Bringing Together Court Personnel
Andrew H Campbell of Omaha, NE, believes that another challenge within the international justice system lies in bringing together court personnel. This may not be something that domestic lawyers have ever considered. But uniting judges, prosecutors, and other court personnel is no easy task, especially when you have a large group of people, each coming from different legal cultures.
Marrying civil and common law traditions and reconciling the contrasting legal backgrounds of the court personnel is a significant obstacle that must be overcome for the smooth functioning of the international justice system.
Lack Of A Model
Lastly, the international justice system currently faces the unique challenge of having no model to look to. For example, when the Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals were created, the only models for international justice that existed were the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals.
However, neither of these models were suitable. Nuremberg and Tokyo occurred over 50 years prior, and sentencing was swift. Also, fair trial safeguards have evolved significantly, to the point that these prosecutions would likely not hold up if tried today.
Another stark aspect of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals was that the defendants had no right to appeal. While the Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals worked to right some of these wrongs, they were ultimately unable to be as effective as they had hoped due to a lack of clear international justice model to base themselves upon.
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