Skip to content

The Progressing Proposal for an International Anti-Corruption Court

In 1945, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson gave a speech to the American Society of International Law (ASIL) that became a roadmap for the creation of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The tribunal, which fairly and effectively tried alleged Nazi war criminals, itself became the foundation for international courts to enforce international criminal law, ensuring that guilty individuals can be held accountable for their crimes. At the outset of his address, Justice Jackson said to the assembled international lawyers, “You are aware of the confusions, of the incompleteness, of the lack of ordinary sanctions, and of all that might be said in criticism of international law. Yet you are here . . . to reiterate your inveterate belief that international law . . . offers the only hopeful foundation for an organized community of nations.”

Justice Jackson was referring to the then-urgent need to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Today, his words are equally applicable to the urgent need to create an effective means to prosecute the perpetrators of grand corruption: that is, an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC).