02 Feb Darfur, the ICC, and a Sustainable Peace
Julian correctly notes that international tribunals aren’t very effective at stopping ongoing killings. He misses the point that they (a) are effective in helping define post-conflict legal order in transitional states and consequently (b) play an important part in saving lives in the long run. Kristof understands this. He understands that in order to get some type of stability in the Sudan and a sustainable peace, there needs to be credible justice.
The Bush Administration, for its own political reasons, would like an ad hoc tribunal to hear these cases. It has not been able to get the support of the Europeans to fund such a tribunal as they view that there is already a competent tribunal in existence, the ICC. The point of the ICC was to put an end to the relatively inefficient funding of ad hoc tribunals (each needing its own infrastructure and staff) and put all such claims before a single court that would build expertise in the area.
So, in the absence of political consensus, what should the Bush Administration do? They seem to be choosing that it would be preferable to have no tribunal hear these claims over having the ICC hear the claims. This is unwise and it does place the concerns of the victims of violence (I would say genocide) in Darfur secondary to the Bush Administration making a point about its dislike of the ICC.
An ad hoc tribunal is unlikely to do as good a job as the ICC. Not having any tribunal at all puts long-term peace in the region on shakier ground than if there was a tribunal to hear these claims. While the Bush Administration should be commended for pushing the international community to recognize the horrors of Darfur, it is nowhere near where it should be in terms of actually securing a peace.