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This publication includes a survey of world conflicts that occurred between 1945 and 2008, the level of victimization they produced, and the subsequent post-conflict justice (PCJ) mechanisms which were applied.
It is intended to show the scope of the problem faced by international criminal justice (ICJ), and how the International Criminal Court (ICC) needs to shape its mission and approach to address ICJ needs and expectations.
ICJ is no longer the utopian topic of only forty years ago. After WWII, the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials were aimed at major offenders in leadership positions. Their prosecution and punishment, it was assumed, would have far-reaching, deterring, and educational effects.
Since 1948, however, some 310 conflicts have taken place resulting in an estimated 92 to 101 million people killed, in addition an inestimable number of persons have been injured or have suffered psychological and material harm. Yet, for the most part, perpetrators have benefited from impunity and escaped accountability.
How can contemporary ICJ address such a volume of core international crimes which have generated so much victimization and material harm? Are the post-WWII assumptions still valid? Can national justice systems assume the primary task of prosecutions? What will the mission of the ICC become, and how will it acquit itself of it? These are issues which are identified within the International Guidelines on Post-Conflict Justice prepared during this project (herein referred to as the Chicago Principles).
They are a set of comprehensive guidelines for how governments, international institutions, and others should respond to serious violations of human rights, as well as to promote peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of conflict. They are also an indispensable strategy within which the ICC can best function. Can it then be assumed that the ICC is likely to achieve its mission in the years to come?
What follows in this book, which contains the proceedings of five regional conferences in Asia, Africa, the Arab World, Europe, and Central and South America, as well as a number of thematic studies dealing with post-conflict justice, should be most instructive to the ICC. These studies also assess various PCJ experiences as a means of determining the most appropriate policy responses in the context of a comprehensive strategy.