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The Role of International Criminal Law in Protecting Human Rights - Research Proposal

6 pages
1390 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
Research proposal
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Every human being is entitled to various rights and freedoms. Perpetrators of serious atrocities against human beings are commonly made criminally accountable for their actions by the international criminal law. Under the international law, human beings are protected against crimes such as war crimes, crimes of aggression, genocide and crimes against humanity. These crimes are prohibited by the body of public international law. In this case, international tribunals and courts guarantee human rights by establishing justice, punishing the perpetrators, deterring potential criminals and ending impunity. The protection of human rights goes beyond the domestic level. Apart from taking an ethical dimension, the aspect of human rights is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948,. It is therefore expected that legal professionals lawyers, prosecutors, and judges have the capacity to effectively protect human rights by implementing the international criminal law.

Research Problem

The international criminal law has gradually undergone various developments. Since World War II ended in 1949, international institutions, charters, treaties, and declarations have been constituted to ensure that never again will the world witness such gross violations of human rights as happened during this war, . The international human rights law is expected to monitor, promote and enforce human rights and freedoms. These rights range from social and economic to political and civil rights. As a result of resolutions by the UN Security Council, conventions and treaties, institutions such as tribunals, monitoring mechanisms, commissions, and permanent courts that include the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been gradually established in a bid to advocate for human rights. Such establishments are supposed to ensure accountability and obligation to the international law by all states in the promotion of human rights, . However, in the contemporary setting, the adjudication and protection of the rights and freedoms of human beings seem to have suffered serious drawbacks. In some cases, legal professionals in the international arena emphasize on justice at the expense of reconciliation, and in others, they have limited potential in preventing human rights violations. Unfortunately, such drawbacks make them fail to do enough to efficiently protect human rights. Therefore, the main problem that this research seeks to address is the efficiency of the international criminal law in protecting human rights.

Aim of the Research

The main aim of this research will be to determine the role that the international criminal law plays in the protection of human rights. It will look into the impact of the international law and other legal provisions in the advocacy and promotion of universal human rights.

Significance of the Research

This research will be very crucial to the legal world in general. In particular, the research findings will go a long way in giving invaluable information to legal professionals such as lawyers, prosecutors, and judges, both at the domestic and international levels. These professionals will be in a position to understand the role that the international criminal law plays in the promotion of human rights, what can work and what cannot. In the process, the legal fraternity will implement what is practical in ensuring that the tenets of human rights are followed and that the fundamental human freedoms are upheld.

Literature Review

It is the fundamental right of every human being to enjoy the rights and freedoms enshrined in the domestic constitution. Whether they are members of the United Nations body or not, each state is obliged to protect its citizens against human rights abuses. The universality of human rights is a very crucial principle as expressed in international law yet it is not adequately applied in the international setting. Any violation of human rights is a criminal offense. Article 1 (3) of the United Nations Charter adopted by the United Nations in 1945 expresses the importance of achieving "international cooperation in solving problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. Other provisions of the charter which contain aspects of human rights protection include Articles 13(1)(b), 55(c), 62(2), 68, and 76(c), . These articles spell out the issue of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of race, religion gender, or origin. All United Nations member states are expected to supplement such provisions with those in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and domestic laws to ensure that human rights are effectively protected.

Over time, human rights and the international criminal law have become interconnected as a result of various legal developments. Human rights both in the domestic and international arena has become an area of law which is fundamental to everyone and which permeates all legal activity, economic and social, in public law and in private. This implies that this is an area that can no longer be ignored thus the connection between international human rights and international criminal law is crucial. Unfortunately, this connection has not been adequately examined and developed, . Therefore, there is need to come up with a framework that critically examines the role of international criminal law in the protection of human rights so as to inform future developments in the area.

Research Methodology

To gather information relevant to this study, both primary and secondary sources will be used. Primary sources will include interviews with the concerned legal practitioners and experts in international law such as lawyers, prosecutors, and judges. Interviews are a very crucial method of collecting information due to the wide variety of data collected. A sample of twenty international law lawyers, twenty judges and twenty prosecutors and thirty victims of human rights abuses in the international criminal law will be interviewed. The interviews will be both face to face and in the form of questionnaires. The questionnaires will be posted online. Upon accepting to be involved and signing the consent forms, the respondents will be expected to answer questions regarding their views on the role played by the international criminal law in advocating for human rights. Secondary data, on the other hand, will be gathered from current research studies on the issue, legal documents and provisions, International Criminal Court legal proceedings, legal declarations and constitutions of various bodies charged with the responsibility of promoting human rights. Secondary data is convenient and cheap since it is readily available for analysis. The methodology will be geared towards finding out the role that the international criminal law plays in the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms.



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