What makes impunity a problem? Considerations on legality and international punishment

The International Criminal Court is aimed at ending the impunity of serious human rights violations and this role has been used as a response to criticisms raised against it. But what is it meant by impunity here? And is the Court fit to fight against it? In this paper I try to answer these questions by looking into our ideas of impunity and into the mechanisms through which courts of law fight against it. I argue that working at their best, courts of law contribute to ending impunity by applying the criminal law in such a way that it restores or enhances the experience of equality before the law whenever it is threatened by abuses of power or patterns of discrimination. As a consequence, punishment does not play a primary role in ending impunity. Instead, what is more crucial is sustaining equality and formal justice against privilege and brute power.