After years of negotiation, a majority of the nations of the world have agreed to create an International Criminal Court. It will be given jurisdiction over three core types of offenses: genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. With regard to war crimes, however, nations that join the court may take advantage of an “opt-out” procedure, whereby the court's jurisdiction over these offenses may be rejected for seven years after the court comes into existence. For various reasons, a small number of nations, including the United States, have refused to sign the treaty creating the court. While heralded as a breakthrough in the protection of individuals and minority groups from crimes against humanity, it remains to be seen how effective the court will be against the worst of such crimes, genocide. Although the International Criminal Court is still in its infancy and untested, this Article seeks to shed light on this question through a case study of the German Jews' legal response to Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1941.

First Page