Crimes Against Humanity : The World Court at The Hague

by TessaSchlesinger

Details about the Wordl Court situated at the Hague and how the system works. Also differentiates between human rights, civil rights, and crimes against humanity.

The Permanent Court of International Justice was originally established in 1921 by the League of Nations - a body that preceded the United Nations. It was dissovled in 1945 when it was replaced by the International Court of Justice. The International Court of Justice is the legal arm of the United Nations. Both were and are known as the World Court. The ICC - International Criminal Court - was established in The Hague on 1 July 2002 as a result of the Rome Statute. It was established in order to try those guilty of genocide (murdering groups of people in a country), war crimes, or other crimes against humanity and to enforce those international laws that were agreed to at the end of WWII in 1945.

The World Court

The International Court of Justice

The World Court comprisesThe International Court of Justice,The International Criminal Court, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. However, when people are tried for human rights violation, i.e. crimes against humanity, then they are tried in the International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice, otherwise known as the World Court, is the legal arm of the United Nations. It is used to settle many different types of disputes between different nations. It also acts as an advisory to legal questions posed by the United Nations or any other nation. It began operating directly after WWII It is situated at the Peace Palace in the Hague, a city in the Netherlands. It is more a tool for developing nations to enforce justice when they are too small to stand against the big guys than anything else. As an example, Nicaragua took the United States to court in 1985 for engaging is a subversive war against it. The World Court ruled against the United States, and, of course, the United States has never been a friend of the World Court since.

The International Criminal Court

Crimes Against Humanity

The ICC began functioning on July 1st, 2001. It deals solely with crimes against humanity, i.e. genocide and war crimes. There are currently 122 member states. It is not possible to become a member state without first signing the Rome Statute which is its 'constitution.'

 The United States signed it in 2002 but then withdrew its membership under George Bush Snr. China and India have not agreed to the Rome Statute either. This means that individuals in these countries can never be tried for crimes against humanity in the World Court.

As at January 2011, only five court cases have been tried at the ICC. All five situations took place in Africa. The countries involved are the Congo, Uganda, Dafur, and Kenya. Sixteen people have been found guilty, of which two have died, four are imprisoned, seven are fugitives, and three are free but attend the court when they are required to do so.

The City of The Hague where the World Court is situated

Who pays the bills?

Finacing of the International Criminal Court

Member nations each contribute to its upkeep which runs at about  As with the United Nations, the system used to determine the member fees is dependent on what it can afford. The total running cost of the court has ranged between about $80 million to about $1 billion per year, depending on the cases tried. It employs about 600 people.

Different types of rights...

Human rights, Civil Rights, Legal Rights, Moral Rightts.

Think about it. Mother Nature never gave you any rights. The law of the jungle is simply survival of the fittest or best adapted. 

Legal rights are those laws bestowed upon you by law. In fact, regardless of whether its' a civil right or a human rights, if it's not ratified by law, then it cannot be enforced in court, and, therefore, they are worthless. You only have the rights bestowed on you by the law of the country you live in. This is one of the reasons some will approach the World Court in order to sue for some human right that was not given by their own country. The World Court enforces Human Rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

So, in order to be familiar with what your rights are, you need to be familiar with what the laws of your country are.

Many assume (wrongly) that a right is something which comes from being human. They call this a 'moral right' or a 'human right.'' It doesn't exist in law and cannot be enforced without the law. Ergo, one man's right may be another man's wrong.


What are Human Rights?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

According to the European Human Rights Charter, human rights do not change from country to country. So a child born in the dark heart of Africa has as much right to shelter, food and water as a king in Saudi Arabia or a farmer in the Mid-West. Examples of human rights are the right to life, education, freedom of expression, a fair trial, protection from torture, freedom from slavery, and the right of freedom of movement. It is under these laws that heads of governments can be held accountable for crimes against humanity in the World Court in The Hague, the capital city of the Netherlands.

Technically speaking, therefore, if people are starving in a country, they are a human right to sue that country for mismanagement as food isn't available for them either to purchase or afford to purchase. If you think about it, minimum wage in the United States is half of what a living wage is, so it means people who earn a minimum wage cannot afford either to pay rent or to buy food as one comes at the expense of the other. With that in mind, the United States complies with human rights internationally by providing food stamps for those who cannot afford food. It is a human right.


Does Your Country Ensure Human Rights

Civil Rights and Your Country

Ask yourself two questions.

What Civil Rights do you have in your country? What are the rights that protect you in your particular country? It is wise to know them because if you don't know them, when those rights are trampled upon, you won't know that the law can protect you. Worse, if you think that the law protects you, and it doesn't, then you may mistakenly do something and find that you do not have the protection of the law, and may, in fact, have stepped outside the law.

Next, ask yourself, what human rights are protected by law in your country. The list of human rights are stated below: If you are unfamiliar with what your human rights are, you can read the twenty nine articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

i have my favorites because they have been particularly difficult issues in my life. Here they are:

Article No. 23

.(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

There are twenty nine articles in full. They are not supported by all countries. Most countries in Europe support all of them.


Does Your Country Support ALL Human Rights

All Your Rights

So there you have it. Your country provides you with civil rights. The European Union provides you with Human Rights but they cannot be enforced in all countries, so you're out of luck if you live outside Europe and your particular country does not give them to you. And if you live in a country where genocide is in force, once the leaders are caught (not always easy), then that leader can be brought before the ICC. 

Updated: 08/30/2013, TessaSchlesinger
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


AudreyHowitt on 05/29/2013

Just an excellent article!

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