Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Chance for Global Justice

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Chance for Global Justice

Article excerpt

We recently met a remarkable woman, a survivor of the genocides in Rwanda. Even though she now lives in the United States, she asked us not to use any details of her story, for fear of reprisals against what's left of her family.

"I want the people who did this to be brought to justice," she told us. Her wish will probably never be granted, and neither will those of the millions of other victims of war crimes. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes - Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Radovan Karadzic of the former Yugoslavia - live as free men. So does Idi Amin, the former Ugandan dictator, whose 1970s regime murdered an estimated 300,000 people, and Immanuel "Toto" Constant, accused of overseeing the murder and torture of thousands of Haitians in the early 1990s. Pol Pot died recently without ever answering for the million Cambodians killed by his Khmer Rouge.

But now we have a unique opportunity to end the impunity of future war criminals. Last week, the Diplomatic Conference to create the world's first International Criminal Court (ICC) opened in Rome. The court would investigate and prosecute those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious war crimes where national courts are either unavailable or ineffective. The Clinton administration should seize the chance to create a strong and independent court. An effective court would make future killers think twice before embarking on a path of genocide if they faced a realistic prospect of apprehension, trial, and punishment. Equally important, the court would provide justice for the victims of war crimes and help advance the process of national reconciliation where such crimes have been committed. Unfortunately, the US hasn't yet joined the growing coalition of countries - including Britain, Germany, Canada, and South Africa - that favors granting the court the powers to bring war criminals to justice. While endorsing the idea of a court, the US has joined China, Russia, and France in advocating a court with limited powers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.