Watch part two 

In the past, national leaders have largely been able to avoid prosecution for serious crimes committed while in office. 

But over the last two decades, dozens of heads of state have been formally prosecuted for serious human rights violations or economic crimes.

For the first time, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted a sitting head of state, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who is ignoring the charges and even traveling internationally. 

Many African states say they will not honor the ICC's arrest warrant if he visits.

Currently, two former heads of state – Peru's Alberto Fujimori and Liberia's Charles Taylor - are also on trial.

On Tuesday's Riz Khan we look at the rise of international criminal courts and how successful they have been to date, and ask: Would leaders of powerful, developed nations be vulnerable to prosecution by international courts if they commit serious crimes in office?

We will be joined by Caitlin Reiger from the International Centre for Transitional Justice who co-wrote Prosecuting Heads of State, and Colin Thomas-Jensen, a policy advisor and activist from the Enough Project, a Washington-based non-profit organisation working to prevent genocide around the world.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Tuesday, July 21, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera