The International Criminal Court remains a work in progress. Since it began operations over a decade ago, the court has handed down three verdicts, one an acquittal, all arising from atrocities committed by militia forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The court has encountered fierce resistance, first from the United States, which has declined to ratify the Rome Statute, more recently from a number of governments in Africa. The most substantial prosecution to date, of Kenya’s current president and deputy president, has faced numerous problems.
At the same time, limited by its founding treaty, the court has been unable to investigate some of the worst atrocities of our times—including the more than 150,000 deaths in Syria since 2012.
Will the court as we know it survive? How will it overcome its considerable challenges? What are the principal causes of its difficulties? What are the solutions? And what are the stakes for international justice?