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Perspectives on International Justice and Human Rights

What is the U.S. position on the International Criminal Court? What does the future hold for war-torn countries as they begin the process of recovering from years of civil war? And how do we measure the impact of an international court that has no armed forces? We ask scholars, human rights organizations and political analysts to discuss the issues raised in The Reckoning.

 

Suliman Baldo
Africa Program Director, International Center for Transitional Justice

"Is a Warrant Against Bashir a Warrant Against Africa?"

Suliman Baldo

"On March 4, 2009, a panel of three ICC judges issued an arrest warrant for Bashir at the prosecutor’s request. The judges found that Bashir had "intentionally directed attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property." Read more »


 

Linda Bishai
Senior Program Officer, Education and Training Center/International, United States Institute of Peace

"Will Truth Bring Peace or Justice?"

The Reckoning: Linda Bishai

"Although the attention of the International Criminal Court has focused on the case of Darfur, the history of all of Sudan since independence in 1956 has been a violent one with millions of lives lost and ways of life permanently affected. The civil war between North and South was one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest, going through several phases and only ending in 2005 with an uneasy power-sharing arrangement. There have also been sustained violent conflicts in Sudan’s Eastern region that have recently come to a negotiated end. When a country has existed with war for so many years it becomes difficult to know what kind of normality might even be possible." Read more »


 

Lucia DiCicco and John Washburn
The American Non-Governmental Organization Coaltition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC)
"The United States Should Cooperate with the International Criminal Court"

The Reckoning: AMICC

"The United States has always been a leader in fighting for human rights and accountability around the world. In fact, the United States was a leader in the Security Council’s creation of the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Moreover, the US played a major role in negotiating the Rome Statute but opposed the final draft of the Statue at the 1998 Rome Conference." Read more »


 

Anthony Dworkin
Executive Director, Crimes of War Project
"The Challenges of the ICC"

The Reckoning: Anthony Dworkin

"Indeed, a closer look at the history of these African cases suggests that the real problem for the ICC is not any kind of Western imposition of justice on Africa (in any case, five of the ICC's judges are African) but rather the difficult interplay of international justice and domestic politics. Consider the case of Uganda: The country's president initially called in the ICC to put pressure on the rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army, but then he appeared to want to exclude the court once peace talks were underway. It will not help the credibility of the ICC and international justice generally if states continue to approach the ICC in such an instrumental way, as if it can be summoned and then dismissed in light of changing political or military circumstances." Read more »


 

Scott Gilmore
Center for Justice and Accountability
"Ending Impunity: The International Criminal Court in the Age of Accountability"

The Reckoning: Scott Gilmore

"The ICC's mission is inseparable from that of the broader movement for international justice. The ICC was designed to complement, not to replace, national courts. And, remarkably, after it was formed, some national courts began to take the lead in enforcing accountability." Read more »


 

Kevin Jon Heller
Senior Lecturer, Melbourne Law School

"Why is the Prosecutor So Focused on Africa?"

The Reckoning: Kevin Jon Heller

"The ICC is often derided as the “African Criminal Court.” That criticism, unfortunately, cannot easily be dismissed: all of the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) current investigations focus on African states ... and it is analyzing the situations in three other African states — Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, and Chad — to determine whether formal investigation is warranted. At the same time, the OTP has declined to investigate the situations in a number of non-African states, such as Venezuela and Iraq..." Read more »


 

Naomi Roht-Arriaza
Professor of Law and Author of The Pinochet Effect
"The Paradox of the ICC"

Naomi Roht-Arriaza

"How do you judge the success of the ICC? If it's by the number of prosecutions and convictions, the Court will probably always be adjudged a failure. It's unlikely to try more than a few cases at a time, and will always have to make hard choices about where to put limited prosecutorial resources. A lot of cases will never come within the Court's purview, including crimes committed before 2002 and those where neither the necessary states nor the Security Council can be convinced to act." Read more »


 

Brett D. Schaefer and Anthony B. Kim
The Heritage Foundation

"Crimes Need to be Punished, But is the ICC the Right Means?"

Brett D. Schaefer and Anthony B. Kim

"One of the most basic principles of international law is that a state cannot be bound by a treaty to which it is not a party. Further, long-standing international legal norms hold that a state cannot be bound to legal assertions that it has specifically rejected. The ICC, however, directly contravenes these norms and precedents of international law; it claims jurisdiction to prosecute and imprison citizens of countries that are not party to the Rome Statute and, more shockingly, over those who have specifically rejected the court's jurisdiction." Read more »






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