International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Tag Archives: international justice

Is Prevention Possible?

Image result for genocide

Genocide is often a result of prejudiced beliefs and ideas that are passed down generations or have been misinterpreted by powerful people. This built hatred, which is then passed down to populations, seems justifiable and acceptable for societies. When genocide occurs, it is not something abrupt or accidental and because there is so much thought and careful planning put into this by the groups committing the crime, it is not easy to stop this overnight.

There is no limit of deaths at which officials can term the mass killings as a “genocide.” Therefore, it is usually wise for international organisations to be cautious of the situation at a conflicted area/region and then intervene, before the death tolls rise. Genocide is greater in conflicted areas or countries where there is active war and a powerful dictator/government ruling and controlling the civilians. Global peace organizations and other countries need to address this while the discrimination and intolerance of a particular group is not as widespread. This can be done through taking swift action through the use of military forces, setting up warning systems that help detect the early signs and take action. If civilians are already being targeted, organizations can create plans/locations to provide them with safety and resources. These changes will not only lead to faster peace but could also prevent these atrocity crimes from occurring repeatedly.

Turkey’s Request for US to Arrest Gulen

France International News released a report today stating that the Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, formally requested President Obama to arrest Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in Philadelphia since 1999. The failed military coup that occurred back in July 2016 in Turkey is the event that lead to Erdogan’s request of the US government. The failed coup targeted parliament and infrastructure in the name of the Gulen movement.  The Gulen movement has Turkish-Muslim ties, but is not related to politics.  Their main focus is to push for positive changes in society including democracy.  Turkey has already found and suspended thousands of police and soldiers linked to the failed Gulen coup. President Erdogan has gone so far as to say that, “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army.” Despite Turkey’s request for Gulen’s arrest, US lawyers have stated that the process could take years to finalize if the US government decides to follow through with the Turkish request. 

Is the ICC discriminatory towards Africa?

In keeping with this week’s concentration on the ICC, I found this article from the New York Times Book Review, which is to be published next week.

This article addresses the claim that the ICC is discriminatory towards African leaders, as it has only prosecuted Africans in its 11 year history.  This accusation is particularly applicable today, as the ICC is encountering resistance from the Kenyan Government during their prosecution of their former President, Uhuru Kenyatta, for the 1,100 murdered and 650,000 displaced during the elections in 2007-2008.  The Kenyan Government has appealed to the UN Security Council and the African Union and sent diplomats to various African nations in an attempt to incite a mass withdrawal of African participants in the ICC, a move which would undoubtedly cripple the ICC; of the ICC’s 122 participating states, 34 are African.

The author of the article, Kenneth Roth, lists the many reasons that the ICC has only prosecuted Africans until now: many African nations enlisted the assistance of the ICC to try their former leaders, the high level of support the ICC has been shown by African nations, and the supposed predilection of its former chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo of Argentina, to pursue arrest warrants rather than engage the court in long legal battles.  However, the supposition that the ICC is discriminatory towards Africans is a more concrete criticism of the ICC, which is interesting because the readings we did this week had to do with the tough balance that the court must walk between its own power and respecting state sovereignty, a more theoretical dilemma than the one presented by the Kenyans today.

“Think Again: International Courts”

I recently came across an extremely pessimistic article about international justice (the caption reads: “It’s time to abandon the false hope of international justice”). It’s from a few years ago, but I felt like it fit in nicely with what we have been discussing through the course thus far. It specifically hits on the ICTY and ICTR. The author claims that neither Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians, nor Rwandans through the tribunals aided in the reconciliation process. Less than 36% of Rwandans thought it did promote reconciliation in 2002. She also points out that the justice process is long and expensive. Milosevic’s trial took years, prolonging the hatred in the hearts of many Serbs, and the ICTR took “10 years to complete the same number of trials that Nuremberg conducted in less than a year.”

The author also lacks faith in the truth-telling process, citing Spain and Mozambique as having been successfully reconciled by taking a “don’t look back” approach to resolving their issues. She then goes on to refute the claim that “Giving Amnesty to War Criminals Encourages Impunity.” If we look at South Africa and Mozambique, she says, we will find that while both implemented amnesties, the rule of law actually improved because the leadership was focused less on prosecuting and more on rebuilding. Politics may also have a greater effect on the rule of law than justice, she suggests. Kagame’s authoritarianism in Rwanda undermined the rule of law even though his government was prosecuting many convicted of war crimes.

Lastly, she claims that the world does not need the ICC. “We can predict that the ICC will be no more effective than the international courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in improving the lives of war-zone residents who are its primary stakeholders. That is, not very effective at all.”

She lacks solid empirical evidence in some areas and some of her fact-finding seems inadequate. (I am never a fan of researchers quoting some people they met on the ground and then extrapolating their answers as if they were representative of the entire population.) However, I feel like it’s a good measure to test what we’ve learned so far. If you support international justice, it may be worth going through her arguments and seeing if what we have read so far allows you to refute any, if not all, of her claims.

Sri Lanka and the Best Transitional Justice Joke Ever

As I was researching our homework project for this week, I came across a super interesting article on Sri Lanka and Transitional Justice.

I found this blogpost particularly approachable, and it was especially helpful in supplementing the knowledge I’d just gained from watching the assigned documentary. Of course, it ends with a coarse toilet joke that is entirely inappropriate (and still embarrassingly funny), but the material isp resented in an intelligent and compelling fashion.

Perhaps the most valuable quote was the following: “The situation in Sri Lanka approximates a scenario of total victory. It appears that, despite international pressure, most believe that any justice the commission metes will be little more than victor’s justice”

The failures of the Sri Lankan truth commissions makes me wonder if the international community should intervene to ensure adequate justice is served on both sides of the ball. What do you guys think?

Syria counts vote of controversial referendum

I came across an article from Al Jazeera reporting on a referendum vote on a new Constitution in Syria, the results are expected to come forth today. Although this article does not tie in specifically to international justice issues, we have been following the Syrian case throughout the semester and I felt it was relevant. The relevance of this vote comes into play in the section of the  Al Jazeera article which reports that many Western nations have deemed this new vote to be “a sham.”  Specifically the Western nations of Germany and Canada are mentioned as being convinced the referendum is “a farce.” In this these countries are opposed to Al-Assad’s regime altogether. As this referendum took place mass amounts of violence also took place. The violence that is taking place is being monitored by a British based Human Rights group called SOHR.  Maybe the continuing violence and upheaval in the region will help spur stronger action from both the UN and the Security Council.