Mendes, Errol P. Peace and Justice at the International Criminal Court: A Court of Last Resort. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2010. viii + 215 pages. Cloth, $99.95.
Throughout history, paradigms have been revised when their assertions failed to mirror prevailing patterns of international behavior. The quest for peace is globally welcomed; however, selective justice by international institutions has dampened this laudable idea. The long-cycle theory, which, in part, seeks to explain that after periods of war peace is likely, tends to define peace in the terms of the victor. Powerful nations use global institutions, such as the United Nations (UN) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), to advance their worldviews as evidenced in the literature.
The quest for global peace has been a perennial conundrum for both world leaders and academics alike as the principles of the Just War Theory are rejected by critics, thereby affirming the importance of the Mile's Law, "where you stand depends on where you sit." It has been the hope of Errol Mendes that global peace can be attained through justice at the ICC, which must serve as a global court of last resort.
From the establishment of the Magna Carta in 1215 through the trials of crimes committed during the Holy Roman Empire in 1474, the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals in the 1940s to the trials of some African leaders for genocide and atrocities in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Mendes intelligently chronicles the historical and legal complexities in establishing such a respectable international judicial entity like the ICC in 2002. He laments over why horrors of crimes against humanity have become permanent occurrences in the history of mankind despite the various efforts over the centuries to lawfully and legally prevent wars. "History," as he puts it, "does not learn from history" (p. 4).
The failure of international judicial intuitions, the ICC for example, to implement its laws stems from a lack of cohesion in drafting those laws, articles, and charters. For instance, as the Nuremberg Trials were seen as "a form of victor's retribution or vengeance," (p. 6) the ICC and other international institutions, including the UN Security Council (Permanent Members), are seen as advancing the political and ideological goals of powerful nations where the rules favor them but these same nations would reject the authority of the same institutions when the...