The Pursuit of Justice: Assistance Needed to Tackle the
International Criminal Court’s Prevention Component
by Jason Elbert
Don’t be a bystander, don’t let it happen again.” Henry Greenbaum, a Polish survivor of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, gave these parting words of prevention to a small group of students from the United States Army’s Command and General Staff College. Greenbaum survived several years in the Starachowice ghetto, incarceration in the Buna-Monowitz subcamp of Auschwitz, and a death march toward Dachau before liberation. He endured the deaths of his mother, sisters, nieces, and nephews. Despite witnessing horrific inhumanity, he focused the group of officers on shared understanding and the prevention of genocide. He did not seek revenge. He only asked that his audience think and intervene. Unfortunately, since his liberation in April 1945, humanity has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to support Greenbaum’s request.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has the potential to support Greenbaum’s wish and play a vital role in the prevention of mass atrocities. For the ICC to effectively deter crimes against humanity, however, the international community must tighten the nexus between the court and its member states. The United Nations (UN) must refine the international community’s ability to investigate mass atrocities and unite apprehension efforts. The ICC should also leverage the complementarity provision of the Rome Statute of the ICC to supervise national court systems and prosecution. Most importantly, the international community must recognize the ICC’s inability to deter genocide and mass atrocities alone. Investigations, indictments, and judicial results must support other international efforts in the prevention of mass atrocities.
This article discusses the ICC’s charge to contribute to the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity and evaluates the court’s ability to effectively prevent crime on an international level…
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| About the Author:
Major Jason Elbert currently serves as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg. Elbert holds a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, a J.D. from the University of North Dakota School of Law, and a Ll.M. in Military Law from The Judge Advocate General’s School. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.