The role of acquittals at the International Criminal Court

Coleman, Michelle ORCID logoORCID: (2019) The role of acquittals at the International Criminal Court. In: Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) 2019 Conference, 06-07 Sept 2019, University of Potsdam, Germany. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


Acquittals are a normal part of a fair criminal justice process. They can demonstrate that the fact finder is taking the evidence, standard of proof, and the presumption of innocence seriously and that the court is attempting to only convict when an accused person is factually and legally guilty of a crime. Acquittals can contribute to justice by raising awareness of the incident that gave rise to the case and by proving that the outcome of a criminal trial is not a foregone conclusion. If however, the criminal justice system is not working properly, acquittals can be a sign of corruption or that the system itself is ineffective at collecting evidence. This paper will look at acquittals at the International Criminal Court and evaluate which of these roles they play in international criminal justice.

The International Criminal Court has had three cases end in acquittal out of the seven cases that have been tried before the Court. This paper examines whether these acquittals are a sign that the international justice process is fair by looking at the rights of the accused, the prosecution and the victims are being upheld by these judgments and whether these judgments contribute to the Court’s legitimacy. The paper will also discuss what impact acquittals at the International Criminal Court have beyond the outcome of the trial. It will consider whether acquittals contribute to justice in the community from which the trial came and the world community. The paper will conclude that although the International Criminal Court has had a relatively high number of acquittals based on the number of cases that have reached a verdict, the acquittals are a sign that the Court is doing its job properly. They indicate that the Court is working well and taking the standard of proof and evidence seriously. Further, the acquittals contribute to both justice in the local community and in the wider world community by bringing attention to the situations which gave rise to the cases and by ensuring that international criminal justice is fair and provides justice.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 27762
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Depositing User: Michelle Coleman
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 17:11
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2020 14:59

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