Is the ICC a court for all nations? The New York Times video “Bloggingheads Vlog African Criminal Court?” have some interesting opinions.
What do you think?
Learn more about the ICC here.
***Update 3/2 – Desmond Tutu writes an op-ed, Will Africa Let Sudan Off The Hook? for the NY Times with including the following:
“..I regret that the charges against President Bashir are being used to stir up the sentiment that the justice system — and in particular, the international court — is biased against Africa. Justice is in the interest of victims, and the victims of these crimes are African. To imply that the prosecution is a plot by the West is demeaning to Africans and understates the commitment to justice we have seen across the continent.
It’s worth remembering that more than 20 African countries were among the founders of the International Criminal Court, and of the 108 nations that joined the court, 30 are in Africa. That the court’s four active investigations are all in Africa is not because of prosecutorial prejudice — it is because three of the countries involved (Central African Republic, Congo and Uganda) themselves requested that the prosecutor intervene.”
MJ’s Thoughts re. The Bloggingheads: I agree with Mr. Tutu that we should be mindful of the scope and capacity of the ICC. Africa is one of the only place where the general public speak collectively as if there weren’t dozens of individual, autonomous countries with varying relationships to global power, leadership, colonization, commerce.My first thought about the heading of this video and the message in the media is the possible implication that African countries are all in great tragedy, struggle and extreme poverty and lack prideful cultural narratives and respect from the global community. A greater credit needs to be given to people of their countries who are capable of restructuring and leading their own people. While the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and Sudan are all engaged in ICC trials right now I would think our focus could be on the people of those countries trying to determine new leadership that defies oppression, corrupt government systems and/or rebel militias and not manifest another enemy of the states and their people.
I also want to name my privilege as an American and note that I can never truly understand the experience of navigating a country through great trauma in a transitional justice system. My question would be for whom does it serve to completely dismiss the influence and goals of the ICC? What would the alternative be? Critique is important and I agree a fair trial begins with understanding of the complexity of the systems at hand but it seems unless affluent countries can take on and restructure this process to handle the variety of world traumas needing investigation, the ICC can only take a handful of genocides and extreme conflict at time. I do not know enough to say anything about Mr. Ocampo’s perceived biases but prosecution of these cases is something I could not imagine doing and some credit and respect needs to be given for the determination to travel this course.
More comments from our friends soon!