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American Society of International Law Proceedings



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Twenty years into the contemporary era of international criminal tribunals, a large measure of consensus has developed (at least among states that fund tribunals) has developed around the notion that these courts should dispense justice only in respect of the most serious international crimes. This view is reflected in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose preamble affirms "that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished" and whose admissibility provisions direct the Court to dismiss a case on the ground that it "is not of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the Court."' As developed in practice, the notion of gravity serves several important functions but cannot by itself effectively guide the selection of cases to be prosecuted by the ICC.



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