International criminal law is a field of criminal law dedicated to criminalizing a group of activities that are considered as international criminal acts, commonly known as war crimes against humanity. International criminal law encompasses crimes against property, such as forcibly removing people from their homes or killing them; crimes against persons, such as murder; attacks against civilians, which may include starvation, beheading, stoning, or using forced labor and slave labor; deportation or transfer to slave labor; slavery or human trafficking; piracy or war against other nations; and any war crime related to drugs or arms trade. International criminal law also encompasses crimes against institutions, such as banks, quarries, and universities. War crimes are also included in the definition of international criminal law.
The term ‘genocide’ is often used interchangeably with international criminal law, but they are two different crimes. A crime against humanity is also defined as “the practice of mass extermination, torture, or other crimes against humanity”. International human rights law recognizes the rights to life, liberty, security, privacy, and freedom of all human beings regardless of race, religion, national origin, or political affiliation. International human rights law seeks to prevent and eliminate all human rights abuses and violations, and to provide protection and assistance to those who have been subjected to such abuses.
International criminal law can be used to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against humanity, including members of the international terrorist organizations al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. These groups are guilty of planning, executing, and committing heinous acts against innocent civilians in foreign countries. In these acts, they may not only kill civilians indiscriminately, but may also deliberately target women, children, elderly men, or members of the military. International criminal laws also apply to war criminals and those who finance them. For instance, if a government or an organization repeatedly wages war against a civilian population as a method of maintaining control over that region, that government or organization may be tried for crimes against humanity. War criminals may also face trials for acts of terrorism.
Some international criminal law experts argue that the system of universal jurisdiction adopted by the United Nations could be extended to include abuses committed by people with a different nationality, and even if the perpetrator is a non-governmental organization or a stateless person. However, the argument has not yet been advanced to the extent that it could be applied successfully in resolving conflicts. The International Criminal Court (ICC) may try war criminals and those responsible for human rights violations against residents of foreign countries. However, it does not have jurisdiction over individuals who commit crimes in member states of the UN Security Council. States may bring international criminals to the International Criminal Court to answer charges under their domestic law, but they do not have the authority to bring someone to the ICC if they are not a state.
Several years ago, the ICC began the procedure of examining member states for potential prosecution of war criminals and other officials who failed to bring the war criminals to justice within their own country. There are nine countries that constitute the ICC – Africa, Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Seychelles, and South Africa. Any nation that is a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court can request the International Criminal Justice Offices to refer a case to the ICC. There are limitations placed on the access of certain member states to the ICC office in order to provide evidence for a case filed within their territory.
There are many other specialized forums that provide assistance to victims and other concerned parties that would benefit from the services of an international criminal justice office. For instance, the National Human Rights Clinic at the University of Michigan provides support and assistance to individuals that would be at risk of being charged with a federal offense for the conduct prohibited by any local law in their state. This is part of the program provided by the international legal assistance programs of the university.
Many people around the world are still suffering the repercussions of the International War Crimes Tribunal. Individuals who have committed heinous acts against humanity may face the death penalty if found guilty in the courts of the United States or elsewhere. Other people who have committed lesser crimes can still be charged with war crimes if found guilty in separate tribunals outside the United States. The charges are then given to the appropriate department or agency of the United States to pursue. One such agency is the Office of Special Counsel, which is responsible for prosecuting individuals for crimes that occurred outside of the United States. Although the U.S. government has not brought any cases to the International Criminal Court, it has implemented a number of protocols that would allow its representatives to help victims seek justice for the crimes against humanity that occurred in their own country.
Many individuals have sent money or assets to entities in foreign countries involved in international criminal law. The criminal defense attorney could assist with the necessary paperwork for these people to send their assets to and from foreign countries. It may also be useful for an individual to seek assistance from an international criminal law lawyer before sending assets to any country, particularly one that is on the United State’s list of countries that are known for human rights violations and/or crimes against humanity. These lawyers would be able to tell the exact amount of money and property that needs to be sent to the country involved in order to prevent prosecution and penalties from being levied. It is always wise to let an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent an individual facing charges for crimes against humanity or war crimes, so they can have the best possible chances at receiving a fair trial