International courts and tribunals

International courts play an important role in terms of compliance with international law. The objective is to take legal measures against and prevent actions that are in contravention of international law and violations of human rights.

The international system comprises two types of courts in particular.

Dispute resolution
The first type aims to contribute to the non-violent resolution of disputes between states. This type of court, which includes the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, has existed throughout the entire 20th century.

Taking individuals to court
The purpose of the second type of international courts is to try individuals for serious crimes against international law, crimes for which the perpetrators would otherwise often not be tried by domestic courts. Established first in the 1990s, they can be either ad hoc courts set up for a particular situation, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,or permanent ones, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Sweden’s position
Sweden’s position is that the international courts fulfil highly important functions. The first type has helped to legally resolve many potential conflicts between states by peaceful means. The second type ensures that those most responsible for the severest crimes can be held to account for their actions and clearly signals that the international community does not accept impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.