Lessons Learnt From Rwanda
: The Need for Harmonisation of Penalties Between the ICC and its Member States

  • Samantha Richards

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


An examination of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its policy of complementarity in the context of the presumption, that for complementarity to be effective, the national courts will have to undertake the majority of the investigations and prosecutions of extraordinary crimes. This will then be discussed in terms of the current setup whereby national courts are permitted by Article 80 of the Rome Statute 1998, to apply their own penalties when conducting trials at the national level. The analysis serves to highlight that
the current situation is not conducive to proportionate or consistent sentencing or penalties, as the death penalty may still be applied by national courts, whilst in accordance with human rights norms, the ICC only has custodial sentences available to its judges. In addition to this the discussion highlights that many national jurisdictions where the crimes take place are in need of capacity building so as to rebuild or to reinforce their legal systems to a level where they are able to seek justice for themselves. This leads into a discussion of the potential for outreach whereby the ICC may also be able to lead by example and take the opportunity to impart their sentencing objectives and procedural norms, in an attempt to facilitate consistent and proportionate justice at both the national and international level, so as to aid the fight to close the impunity gap. The case study of Rwanda will be used to reinforce the hypotheses and to serves a real life example of how involvement in capacity building can also lead to legal reform.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University

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