Crimes Against Humanity: International Organisations’ Pursuit of Justice

Crimes Against Humanity: International Organisations’ Pursuit of Justice


Law and order have been the foundational pillars of any society. In that sense, the present conflicts arising around the world raise crucial questions about justice and peace. Such international affairs shock the conscience of the global community and make one wonder if there’s any place where they can be assured of safety.

UN: the guardian of international justice

The UN, which was conceived in the aftermath of World War II with the aim of being an institutional anchor of world peace and security, can be seen failing to accomplish its goal of maintaining international relations.

The Security Council and the International Court of Justice, two prominent bodies of the UN, each constituted to serve the purpose of ensuring fairness and security, have proved to be incompetent. They’ve failed to create a global order where states comply with the rules and regulations, and that has threatened world peace time and again.

In the words of Glennon, “diplomatic historians have yet to identify a single instance of interstate violence that was actually stopped by the United Nations.” This statement and the countless instances of war crimes and genocide that the world institution failed to raise its voice against highlight its incompetence. Therefore it’s high time that the UN works on strengthening the world’s legal system and actually does what it’s supposed to do.

International law and its shortcomings

The whole concept of international law is becoming fragile and irrelevant with each drop in the sea of crimes against humanity. That is largely due to the lack of an effective legal framework that could hold states accountable for their actions.

There has been a blatant breach of the international law system frequently in the past two decades, ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the ongoing Iran-Palestine conflict.

A major issue with the ICJ, the main judicial organ of the UN, is that it holds little to no jurisdiction over matters involving a party, despite that party being a member of the ICJ. Another drawback is lack of compliance on the part of the member states. In spite of numerous treaties and conventions being signed, there have been repititiatory violations and without anyone raising an eyebrow.

Incompetence of the International Criminal Court

The ICC, that was established in 1998 with the signing of the Rome Statute, was created to deal with the most heinous crimes on an international level. Despite being a world institution, many countries aren’t under its jurisdiction, and its inefficiency has been under scrutiny frequently.

In order to live up to its full potential, this court needs to be more resistant to crimes of aggression and not in favour of humanity. Additionally, more countries need to be bound by their pursuit of justice.


The international system formed by the UN Charter is at the core of the international peace and justice system. But the inability to abide by this set of rules can cause irreversible destruction. The severity of the situations arising in the 21st century between nation-states is that they may even lead to anarchy. 

In order to prevent this, these world-level institutions need to work hand in hand to create a legal architecture that deters crimes against humanity and ensures accountability when prevention falls short.

It’s true that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to bind the world under the spirit of one law, especially when the constraints of individual nations’ geopolitical interests come into the picture.

But even while challenges persist, their commitment to upholding human rights and establishing a legal framework for accountability should remain central to fostering a world where crimes against humanity are met with unwavering condemnation and resolute pursuit of justice. Shaming the shameless may be hard to achieve, but reacting to shameless acts in such a way can save a community, at least in the eyes of its members united by the bond of shame.

Author :- Shivangi Agarwal, Galgotias University 

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