International Criminal Court – A Concept

Could we have a micronational one of these?


An international criminal court is a common enough idea for a micronational organisation, but they all appear to fall apart due to some gaping holes.

I think it’s a fascinating idea. What if it was possible for us to govern ourselves – effectively? To have a system of accountability would allow our community to grow in a whole different way.

So, I’ve been devising a concept. I don’t particularly expect it to ever come to fruition, but it’s interesting to think how we’d do it. I’d like to show you what I’ve been devising.

Most concepts must answer some basic questions. I believe these are:

  1. How can you establish a jurisdiction?
  2. What sentences can you give, and how will you enforce them?
  3. What can you prosecute for?
  4. How will it work in practise?
  5. Why do we need a court system anyway?
Let me go through them one by one. Firstly, jurisdiction. This one is relatively easy. You must have willing participants in your system. These can be nations, individuals, organisations, chatrooms, anything. They must simply all recognise the authority of the court. Organisation can sign up, and require their members to as well. Chatrooms can decide to recognise the authority of the court in conversation. The only thing is, it must be voluntary.
One problem here though is that while some may sign up to start with, they don’t necessarily have to stay signed up if they’re about to accused of something. Therefore, we need clever sentences.
Sentencing. It’s always been an issue. How can you give a sentence to someone you’ve probably never met, and who has no reason to abide by it? You can’t imprison them, or place trade sanctions on them, or take away their property, or even execute them. But, there are things we can do. I’ve come up with some ideas:
  1. Criminal record – When nations are planning to give citizenship, or work, or honours; or organisations are planning to give membership, or power, imagine how useful it would be if they could simply look an individual up on a database. Oh look, they were prosecuted for plagiarism last month. Let’s not give them the award then. This can’t be avoided very easily.
  2. Bans or Exclusion – If organisations and chatrooms have signed up to this, then they have the power to revoke membership, or ban individuals. This is quite a powerful sentence. People like Skype. Ban them from the Ragged Flagon, and they’ve been punished. This wouldn’t have to be permanent either. Just a week’s ban, perhaps. As an extension of this, it could even be a general ban from the community, though that would require a wider buy-in.
  3. Removal of Power – A follow on from point two, this would require either an organisation or a large nation to remove a member from a position of power.

The crucial thing is that sentences must be both enforceable and unavoidable.

Next, what do you prosecute for? What constitutes an offence? Obviously, not murder, or assault – our offences will be relatively speaking, small. Again though, I’ve some ideas:

  1. Poor Conduct
  2. Plagiarism/Intellectual Theft
  3. Untruthfulness
  4. Spamming/Trolling
  5. Hacking
  6. Breach of Forum Rules (Where this is not covered by the forum administrators and moderators)
  7. Corruption
  8. War Crimes

The last one seems silly, but in micronational wars, it could actually prove to be quite relevant.

Also to bear in mind, is the prospect of using the Court for offences within micronations, where the micronation decides they don’t want to/can’t try the accused themselves.

We could also potentially devise a method of holding civil cases.

My favourite aspect of this was devising the actual workings. So, an example case.

Kit McCarthy, of Mcarthia, has possibly been accepting bribes. Someone gets wind of this and decides to pass it to the Court system. It is reported, and followed up by a member of the court. They decide it requires further investigation, so pass it to a “Detective” who spends a while investigating. After he’s gathered evidence, Kit McCarthy is formally accused of corruption.

He then has the opportunity to find his own lawyer, or take a court appointed one. He takes a court appointed one, and he goes on trial, with the Court prosecuting. He is found guilty by a small jury, and is banned from the Ragged Flagon for a month, and receives a criminal record.

Due to this criminal record, he doesn’t receive a Usian award he always wanted.

You get the idea. I would break the organisation into departments.

  1. Office of the Supreme Judge
  2. Department of Investigation
  3. Department of Prosecution
  4. Department of Legal Affairs (Judges, Lawyers, Legal Advice)
  5. Department of Administration
  6. Department of Sentencing
  7. Oversight Department

I could go into endless detail, but I won’t. I would just say, that please  God, keep the management small.

The last question is that of need. Do we actually need a court? Of course not. But there are reasons for one. It would allow us to keep order, to keep the community pleasant, and to enhance our reputation as a group of people. It’s not a totally stupid idea. After all, the GUM had one.

But remember, this is a micronational organisation. It probably won’t work.


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