It may appear upon initial examination that international criminal law has little to contribute to the development and protection of international human rights. Close analysis demonstrates, however, that the international protection of human rights can be viewed as a continuum along which criminal proscription has become the ultima ratio modality of protection. Resort to criminal proscription is compelled when a given right encounters an "enforcement crisis" in which other modalities of protection appear inadequate. Yet, the need to find an international or transnational element in human rights violations together with the need to rely on national courts to implement international penal proscriptions present impediments to scrutiny of violations committed by officials of sovereign states. This paper describes how international criminal law facilitates the proscribing function and initiates an inquiry as to its role in a comprehensive system of international protections.
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