The International Criminal Justice Court

The International Criminal Justice Court has been under intense scrutiny for its decision making partly because the kind of decisions it makes have a wide raging effect on so many countries and also because it decisions can affect the decisions made by this Court and also because similar decisions may affect the analysing parties. (Okowa, 2005) A case in point was the Armed Activities case between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The latter two countries would be adversely affected by the decisions of ICJ and also by the UN because of the peace negotiations going on between these various countries.

It should be noted that prior to the making of such decisions, the ICJ is required to engage in fact finding. However, it has been asserted that the very structure of such a body is such that fact finding would be particularly difficult. Most of the cases facing such a body especially the Uganda vs. DRC case are highly complex and any shallow dealings with the matter may severely undermine the administration of justice in such areas. It should also be noted that most of the decisions made were based on atrocities committed in other parts of the world such as Yugoslavia.

This indicates a very serious problem in this area because it prevents the latter group from looking at the problem from an African perspective rather than from another method. Another issue that brought out a lot of contradictions with this regard to the latter case is that the ICJ through the United Nations utilised a commission that had been created by the very state that was being tried. In this regard, Uganda had formed a commission known as the Porter commission. The purpose of this body was to examine the weaknesses that were inherent in the Ugandan government.

These findings were then used against the Ugandan government to propagate some of the judgements made against the latter country. It is also interesting to note that some of the bodies created by the United Nations in Uganda were then used against the very nation that allowed them. Consequently, it can be said that this has created a lot of suspicion between countries that must be tried by the ICJ and those ones that must be investigated by the UN. These countries may not allow or cooperate with such UN bodies so as to save their names in case of a hearing.

(Okowa, 2005) After an assessment of the latter case, it can be said that the UN may engage in peace negotiations in certain regions with a long term perspective so as to act as an example for other cases or so that their work can be used as a third party basis for establishing the truth behind certain kinds of matters in international cases. Besides this, it should also be noted that another challenge in such cases is that the ICJ gives too much weight to other bodies than it does to others.

This is especially because the UN may sometimes be engaging in fact finding missions without considering the fact that the latter body has presented findings that were non judicial in nature. This particular case has also drawn a lot of interest from various parties with regard to matters surrounding these issues. In order to understand some of these contradictions, it is essential to study some of the legal issues that are surrounding the case. The republic of Uganda filed a case against the Democratic Republic of Congo whom it accused of carrying out attacks in part of Uganda’s regions.

The reason why this matter brought out a lot of concerns was that both countries seemed to be carrying out claims that had nothing to with the overall nature of its respective kinds of approaches. For instance Uganda had claimed that rebel groups from DRC were responsible for carrying out some of the attacks that had taken part in its south western region. Consequently, the DRC government should be responsible for the actions taking part in Uganda. (Okowa, 2005) On the other hand, the democratic Republic of Congo claimed that its armed forces were so limited in order to lay blame to them.

Besides the latter issue, the matter was further compounded by the existence of another country that was also party to the claims made by Uganda. The Ugandan government asserted that since the rebels in DRC were opposing some of the Rwandan occupations of their territory, then Rwanda should also be included in the process. Because of all these complexities, there were greater problem in the final decisions that had to be arrived at by the ICJ. But the interesting aspect of their decision was that judges operating in this Court adhered to the UN charter.

This was especially necessary when trying to determine which group is the guilty parties and which ones were not. For instance, in Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter, it has been asserted that another party is guilty of committing aggression when that respective party is violates the latter provisions. Consequently, it can be said that these parties are normally guilty if such offences when there are no other underlying issues that are going to be present in those respective areas. (Okowa, 2005)

Another case that has drawn a lot of international interest is the case of the Nicaragua versus United States. Through this case, it is possible to see another scenario in which the United Nations is mandated to carry out peaceful operations. In this regard, the UN can engage in peacekeeping when a particular offending party that had been instructed to carry out certain ruling by the International Criminal Justice Court and then fails to do so. In other circumstances, the UN Security Council can also step in when a country decides to carry out a veto against another.

In this case, the matter under consideration may be contentious and the affected parties may want to operate in another manner. (Joyner and B. Grimaldi, 1985) However, in order to understand the conditions for peacekeeping by the UN in this particular case, it is imperative to examine some of the underlying issues that occurred prior to and during the ruling. The latter case occurred in the year 1985, when Nicaragua claimed that the United States was conducting a war against them through the use of guerrillas that the US had been supporting and also through the process of instating mines in Nicaragua.

The Court focusing against the United States and for Nicaragua thus commanding the US to pay reparations to the offended party. There were a number of legal implications about this particular case. First of all, the United States lost the arguments that the ICJ did not have the legal jurisdictions to preside over the matter but this was nullified. Additionally, it was found that the United States had breached its international obligations that can be summarised as follows • Intervening in others affairs • Violation of sovereignty

• Adherence to obligations in the treaty • Interruption of peaceful maritime operations • Using force against another state (ICJ reports, 1986) By acting in such a manner, the United States demonstrated that it was in fact guilty of the offenses that had been labelled against it and should therefore pay for behaving in the manner that it. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Nicaragua vs. United States case was that the latter party was instrumental in clarifying some of the roles of the UN in peace keeping missions.

For instance, the UN can take part in peacekeeping when there is evidence to illustrate that the offending party has used excessive force. Besides that, the case was also instrumental in calcifying hat can justify self defence. While Nicaragua was paid reparations, it did not win the part of the case involved the issue of self defence. This was because Article 51 of the UN charter states that self defence can only be done in attacks and non indirect interventions by the parties. (Joyner and B. Grimaldi, 1985) Conclusion

It can be said there are three major pathways that would constitute a legal basis for UN intervention; the first is in preventive measures of armed conflicts. In such cases, there must be evidence pointing to this such as possession of weapons of mass o destruction. The UN can also engage in peaceful negotiations when states have just been separated or unified so as to facilitate adherence to international law and domestic law too. Lastly the UN may engage in peacekeeping operations in post conflicts territories.In such circumstances, it takes up an administrative role.


Warner, New Dimensions of Peacekeeping (1995) 1-69 and 159-179 Theodorides, ‘The United Nations Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)’, ICLQ (1982), 765 Matheson, ‘United Nations Governance of Post-Conflict Societies’, HILJ (2001), 76 Korhonen, ‘International Governance in Post-Conflict Situations’, LJIL (2001), 495 A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility. Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, 2004, pp.

67-74, 83-86. Ph. Okowa, Case Concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (DRC v Uganda), 55 ICLQ (2006), 742 C. C. Joyner and B. Grimaldi, The United States and Nicaragua: Reflections on the Lawfulness of Contemporary Intervention, 25 Virginia Journal of International Law (1985), 621 CArmed activities on the territory of the Congo (DRC v Uganda), ICJ, 2005 (http://www. icj-cij. org) Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Jus Ad Bellum, Ethiopians Claims 1-8, available at http://www. pca-cpa. org/showpage. asp? pag_id=1151