Born and raised in New York City, I've been fortunate enough to experience diverse cultures without ever leaving home. Despite this, I still maintain grand dreams of seeing the world (give me a break - I'm young and still an idealist). I'm in my last year of school at Oberlin College, where I'm double majoring in Politics and Law with a concentration in International Studies. I'm currently an intern at the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court in New York.
As one journalist states – and I agree – “…the United States of America has the moral duty and legal obligation to go after each and every one of those involved in the illegal acts of butchery in Afghanistan and Iraq, following up and holding them responsible for the consequences of these acts and holding accountable each and every person involved in the decision-making process, however high their position in the pyramid may have been.” The notion of command responsibility seems conveniently absent from the minds of American policy-makers. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, “a wall of impunity surrounds the architects of the policies responsible for the larger pattern of abuses.”
Ah. Let us take a moment to re-read that last sentence. This time focus on the word “architect”. Architect…perhaps as in, Karl Rove, widely known as “The Architect” for Bush’s reelection and subsequent policies? Read the rest of this entry »
It’s no secret that the majority of sexual abuse claims regarding the Catholic Church have failed to be investigated by either legal authorities or the Church itself, but the Pope’s recent trip to the UK has spurned a debate of, shall we say, almighty proportions.
In a letter to the Catholics of Ireland dated 19 March 2010, Pope Benedict XVI wrote:
“To priests and religious who have abused children: You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals.”
What “tribunal” is he talking about? Can the Pope himself be charged with anything? What about the entire Holy See, or a representative, as suggested by Patrick Wall, an American lawyer and former Benedictine monk? Read the rest of this entry »
There’s been a media firestorm in response to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s trip Friday to attend the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution, despite the ICC warrant for his arrest (see Xavier’s post below). A quick response:
In a press release, Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Africa Deputy Programme Director, said, “It is disturbing that the Kenyan government is celebrating a new constitution – the national centrepiece of the rule of law – while obstructing justice for victims of such serious human rights violations in a neighbouring country.” Apparently the whole ‘neighbor’ part is being used by the Kenyan government to defend al-Bashir’s attendance: Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula stated, “[al-Bashir] was here today because we invited all neighbors and he is a neighbor.” Well, thanks, Mr Wetangula, for that priceless bit of social precedent. Next time I have a barbecue, I’ll be sure to invite the serial killer down the block, even though I promised my friends that I wouldn’t associate with him.
I don’t know where Wetangula is finding these gems, but he keeps them coming: “[Bashir] is a state guest. You do not harm or embarrass your guest.” Yes, Mr Wetangula, it seems the only thing Kenya is embarrassing lately is itself. To be fair, there is some hope for the sanity of select Kenyan government officials. Deputy Defense Minister David Musila stated, “Kenya has brought shame to itself by allowing President Bashir to visit the country. If he is still in the country he should be arrested immediately and handed to the ICC.” Unfortunately, Kenya’s apparent war crimes poster boy is already safe and snug back in Khartoum.
My apologies for the tone of this post. If I sound bitter, that’s because I am.
But do follow me on twitter @cminall.
In October 2007, John Holmes, United Nations Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, told the New York Times:
“The sexual violence in Congo is the worst in the world. The sheer numbers, the wholesale brutality, the culture of impunity – it’s appalling.”
It seems as though not much has changed over the last three years.
Last month, civilians were brutally attacked and raped by armed elements of the Mai-Mai and the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to Will F. Cragin, the International Medical Corps’ coordinator for the region, between 200 and 400 men entered the village of Ruvungi and systematically raped more than 150 women. The victims, most of whom were raped by two to six men at a time, were often violated in front of their families.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is understandably outraged by the attacks, and has dispatched Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare, Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, to the DRC, and has instructed his Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, to take charge of the UN’s response and follow-up to this incident. But will anyone actually be prosecuted for the atrocities? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in International Criminal Court on 20 August 2010
Xavier: I’d like to welcome our newest team member, Cate Minall. This is her first post, and hopefully the first of many. Cate, welcome to The International Jurist.
On 18 August 2010, the Eastern Caribbean state of St. Lucia deposited its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the UN Headquarters, becoming the 113th State Party to the ICC Treaty.
The Court welcomed this decision, calling it “a new sign of the international community’s commitment to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes that deeply shock the conscience of humanity.”
According to the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Caribbean states played a key role in the creation and establishment of the ICC, and Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy noted that St. Lucia’s ratification was the third this year. She stated, “A steady increase in the number of ratifications demonstrates that the Court is a reality, which everybody must recognize.”
The International Jurist congratulates St. Lucia for showing true commitment to international justice, and welcomes them to the growing community of states around the world that are working to end impunity.