Posts Tagged International Justice
A letter to the International Herald Tribune (published on the New York Times website) has caught my attention. The author writes:
History shows that one corrupt regime is usually followed by another. This is so because corrupt countries are often given no chance to build up bureaucracies that can contain corruption. Hence, revolutions tend to be power struggles in which competing elites seek advantage, even though their motives might have been pure at the start.
A country like Tunisia would greatly benefit if there were an international tool that could fight corruption from outside a country. The world needs an international tribunal, like the International Criminal Court, that could make significant corruption an international crime, subject to prosecution.
After considering amendments to add to the Rome Statute the Crime of Terrorism and the Crime of Drug Trafficking, shall we imagine a “Crime of Corruption”?
The idea is amusing, but even for a partisan of international justice such as myself, I have to admit that I am more than skeptical and reluctant. As much as corruption can indeed gangrene a country and cause immeasurable harm to the population, I have a hard time imagining an international tribunal dealing with this, unless corruption has reached such heights that it amounts to crimes against humanity.
The struggle against corruption is best left to inter-state cooperation through organizations such as Interpol.
David Bosco is raising the alarm on his excellent blog The Multilateralist over at Foreign Policy on some potentially very bad news for the international criminal justice project, regarding the ICC’s difficulties in Africa and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s delicate mission in an explosive-as-ever Lebanon.
The post is not very long, so it is difficult for me to quote excerpts without quoting the entire thing (which would not be appropriate without the author’s approval), so I can only strongly suggest you read it.
I do not have time for a detailed response, so I will have to content myself with two quick observations:
Regarding an engineered African withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the threat is undeniably there, and I do not doubt the credibility of the reports David Bosco mentions. However, things are a little more complex than what they appear, as Africa is a) not a homogeneous block – some African States are very pro-ICC, others a bit less, a few outright anti-; b) some African States do have an interest in having the ICC intervening in their country, and c) I was surprised while reading the statements given by delegations at the latest Assembly of States Parties at how conciliatory and even positively low-profile the African States’ declarations were. You’d think for a continent plotting to leave the Rome Statute in a coup, they would raise the issues bothering them in a louder fashion than what they did last month.
I sincerely doubt anything would happen before the Prosecutorial elections next year. The African group has a strong chance of having elected an African Prosecutor for the ICC, and I simply do not see them forfeiting that chance.
Regarding the situation in Lebanon, it is particularly delicate and one I have been meaning to write on for quite a while, and probably will as soon as I have a little more time on my hands (I still have a pile of reports on Lebanon to go through first). But it seems clear that the difficulties at the heart of the peace versus justice debate have never been so discernible and clear-cut than it is there. This is a situation to monitor and think about, for both sides.
Hopefully, I will have time to write more about each situation soon.
The Economist, one of my favorite sources for news and analysis, has a great piece on international justice in this week’s edition, that offers a very much on-the-spot assessment on the status of international criminal justice and the challenges ahead.
Although the article starts by explaining that international criminal justice, whether through the International Criminal Court or through the ad hoc tribunals (ICTY or ICTR), has never been busier than recently, it puts forward several arguments that I think are worth going over.
As promised last week, I am giving you a rapid commentary of the Appeals Chamber’s decision in the Lubanga Trial at the International Criminal Court. I was in the media center of the ICC when Judge Sang-Hyun Song read out a summary of the decisions (the full, authoritative written version of which you can find here and here), furiously taking notes to send to my employer. I am also sharing a slightly modified version of these with you below.
It was an interesting experience, listening to Judge Song reading the summary of the judgment, surrounded by journalists begging for Lubanga to be released in order to “have a story” – that is, be given a free field day to tear the ICC down in articles in order to sell more papers. Needless to say, they were disappointed by the time Judge Song finished reading the summary of the decision. Read the rest of this entry »
I just had a full and very interesting day, and I felt like I needed to share some thoughts here on the blog in two different posts – relating to two different events – but that share the same theme: the problems international justice encounters when its meets “foreign” culture.
There is of course a certain amount of irony in the title, as it can be discussed whether “international” justice can encounter a “foreign” anything – that is, until we meet extraterrestrial cultures – but it is hard to deny that for all its international-ness (and it does try to accommodate different legal cultures), international justice, and international criminal justice in particular, rests on Western-standards and concepts of procedure, law, and justice.
Hence, when international justice encounters and has to work with non-Western cultural paradigms, problems prop up. Part II will be particularly more on-topic in this regard, but I feel like Part I relates as well, and so now comes the time that I actually tell you what this is all about. Read the rest of this entry »