Monday, March 02, 2009

A Warning Sign? Sierra Leone tribunal convicts 3 warlords

The conviction of 3 warlords from Sierra Leone is certainly a gain for international accountability and human rights around the world. But the author has an interesting point - are we just picking on the weak links? And if so, how credible is the type of international accountability we're creating? How punitive should these tribunals be? Does there come a point when punitive measures are counterproductive?

(I'm admittedly a student from last year - but I couldn't help myself from posting when I saw the article. What can I say? I miss the class!)

18 comments:

Kiki L. said...

While I understand the point that the author made that there is clearly an incontinency between what countries are tried before the ICC and which are not, I do not think that this fact undermines the steps that the organization have taken in securing international peace and security. Not only does the ICC provide justice for those effects by crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes, as the author points out, it is become a mechanism for deterrence. As the body grows in its reach (which some day will hopefully reach all countries, including the United States,) actors will know that they are accountable of their actions by the international community even if the government is not effective at that moment. The ICC was only created in 2002 and while it is not yet an omnipresent body, it is making a difference in the regions that it is able to and through international pressure and the US and other countries that chose to participate it can some day be a body of international justice.

Sophia said...

Kiki L,

I love your optimism and hope that the ICC will evolve as you have mentioned, but I personally feel that the status quo is not giving justice to all bodies in the international theater. For this reason, I agree with the author and question whether the actions of today will create a justified future?

Elle said...

While the authors of this article point out that there are problems with the ICC, I think that the mere presence of such a court shows that huge strides have been made towards a sense of international justice. Yes, there are problems. There is no debate about the fact that leaders of developing countries are sentenced while those of developed countries are ignored. I would propose that this is only natural in the initial years of the court. We have to remember that the ICC is less than 10 years old. All such institutions take time to become effective (look at the UN, and it's been around much longer). Nevertheless, there have been significant convictions that send strong messages to country leaders. For example, the court just issued a warrant for President Al-Bashir of Sudan. (Finally, someone takes an official step in ending the violence in Darfur). Like Kiki, I think there is much to be optimistic about. As the ICC tries more cases, it will become stronger. With this strength will come the ability to try people from more powerful nations.

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