Today we are living through another political transformation, which could be as important as the creation of the nation state; the exclusive link between geography and political power has been broken down. Our new era has seen layers of governance spread within and across political boundaries … The stuff of global politics already goes far beyond traditional political concerns. Drug smugglers, capital flows, acid rain and the activities of paedophiles, terrorists and illegal immigrants do not recognise borders; neither can the policies for their effective resolution … But it is not clear which factors will determine how far old (governance) institutions can adapt and whether new institutions can be invested with legitimacy. (Held et al. 1999: 488-9)


International criminal justice is sufficiently well established to merit an overview of its origins and institutional development. This chapter commences by identifying the institutional indicia of international criminal justice and their close connection with individualised international human rights protections. Controversy over motivations underlies these structural and process signposts of justice. Has formal international criminal justice emerged in response to novel and genuine concerns for the safety of humanity, or is it a manifestation of partial global governance priorities in post-conflict scenarios?