The adoption in Rome, on July 17, 1998, of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) realized a dream pursued by the international community for almost a century. Making this dream a reality was an enormous political and legal accomplishment. The heart of the problems involved in the task can be summarized in two words, full of significance: State sovereignty.
Unless we dwell in pure utopia, it must be admitted that in inter-State relations humanitarian interests are filtered by governments. Despite much commentary about its alleged erosion, the sovereignty of States continues to constitute a reality which enjoys — for better or for worse — very good health. This reality conditioned the process of elaboration and negotiation of the ICC Statute, and is a theme that can be found throughout the 128 articles of this complex instrument. In the result, however, a concrete result was most definitely achieved. Thanks are do, in no small part, to non-governmental organizations, more attentive to humanitarian interests than the States.
The work carried out at the Rome Diplomatic Conference, as well as during the sessions of the Preparatory Committee, is far from perfect. Nevertheless, given the enormous obstacles, it may well be the most satisfactory result possible in the circumstances. As the President of the Rome Conference, Professor Giovanni Conso, said on more than one occasion over the course of the Rome negotiations, “the best is always the enemy of the good”. And, yet, for better solutions there is still a time and a place: namely the “Review Conference” that, according article 123 of the Statute, “seven years after the entry into force of the Statute the Secretary General of the United Nations shall convene […] in order to consider any amendments to this Statute”.
The prospect of a future Review Conference confronts the academic community with a responsibility to conduct an in-depth examination of the norms comprised within the Rome Statute, the whole with the view of making proposals aimed at modification and improvement. These essays represent a modest contribution to the process.
This collection of essays has been made possible by a research project funded (ex 40%) by the Italian Ministry for University, Scientific Research and Technology (MURST). It has been printed with the contribution of the Dipartimento di Studi Giuridici, Comparati, Internazionali ed Europei of the Università degli Studi di Teramo.
. William A. Schabas is the Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is also an Associate Professor at the University of Middlesex in London and a professeur associé at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He is a ’door tenant’ at the chambers of 9 Bedford Row, London.
. Flavia Lattanzi is Professor of International Law, University Roma Tre, on secondment at UNICTR, as ad litem judge in a case before the ICTR, Arusha, Tanzania (from October 2003). Member of the International Fact-Finding Commission created by Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions. Member of the International Institute on Humanitarian Law, San Remo/Geneva and Member of its Board of Directors. Member of the Sociera italiana di diritto internazionale, of the Société française de droit international and of the International Legal Association.