Most perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout history have gone unpunished. In spite of the military tribunals following the Second World War and the two recent ad hoc international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, the same holds true for the twentieth century. That being said, it is reasonable to conclude that most perpetrators of such atrocities have believed that their crimes would go unpunished. Effective deterrence is a primary objective of those working to establish the international criminal court. Once it is clear that the international community will no longer tolerate such monstrous acts without assigning responsibility and meting outappropriate punishment -- to heads of State and commanding officers as well as to the lowliest soldiers in the field or militia recruits -- it is hoped that those who would incite a genocide; embark on a campaign of ethnic cleansing; murder, rape and brutalize civilians caught in an armed conflict; or use children for barbarous medical experiments will no longer find willing helpers.
2. From now on, all potential warlords must know that, depending on how a conflict develops, there might be established an international tribunal before which those will be brought who violate the laws of war and humanitarian law. Everyone must now be presumed to know the contents of the most basic provisions of international criminal law; the defence that the suspects were not aware of the law will not be permissible.