Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Today I would like to introduce the idea of a new paradigm in international relations, which was introduced by the work of the drafters of the Rome Statute and the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC): this idea is that of law as a global tool to contribute to the world's peace and security. This idea first surfaced with the belief that the power of law has the capacity to redress the balance between the criminals who wield power and the victims who suffer at their hands. Law provides power for all regardless of their social, economic, or political status; it is the ultimate weapon that the weak have against the strong.

Indeed, when implemented equally and fairly, the law sets one standard for everyone; it empowers all communities and individuals, and provides justice for all. It does not allow any individual or any segment of society to override or manipulate the order for individual gains, if it is backed by sound institutions. In the domestic context, we have created institutions such as parliament, the police, prosecutors, and courts to establish law and order. But what about the international context? How are we supposed to counter and prevent massive crimes of an international character such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, like those that were committed in Darfur, Libya, or Cote d'Ivoire?