International Criminal Courts Challenges in Dealing with the Situation of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Document Type : Original Article


Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


With the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the impunity movement took on a more serious form, and the hope for the realization of this dream has been realized. The situation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the first ones that dealt with by the ICC. This was also a test for the Court's effectiveness of its laws in the administration of justice. Within the situation, the Court has dealt with six cases to punishing international crimes committed during the Congolese civil war. During the investigations related to the situation, two issues were raised: First, the effectiveness of the Court's rules, including the Statute of the Court, Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and other relevant rules in prosecuting and punishing offenders, and second, the use of elements of a fair trial for trying the accused. Since the Court is an international body dealing with the most serious crimes concerned with the international community, a fair trial, focusing on the punishment of perpetrators and protection of the victims, is the least expected of an international tribunal. In the meantime, handling some cases was more challenging, inter alia, the case of Mr. Thomas Lubanga, whose criminal case contained many legal issues. In addition, the function of the Court was repeatedly criticized during his trial. In particular, the performance of the prosecutor's office in collecting documents against the defendants, as well as the manner in which the trial handled their case, indicated that the Court's rules may not have the effect to conduct a fair trial yet and that some of its rules need to be amended. Although the court did not succeed in convicting all the accused and also could not determine the punishment for their crimes for the rest of the convicts, it was able to lay the foundation for the fight to end impunity.


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