18 May The Unhelpful International Criminal Court
Last year, there was lots of grousing on this blog and elsewhere about U.S. objections to an ICC referral for Sudan. Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, among others, claimed that an ICC referral “would start saving lives tomorrow.” The U.S. relented and … the brutal, genocidal war continues largely unabated. Yup, those Sudanese militias are really holding back in fear of an ICC indictment.
Meanwhile, the ICC (unwisely supported by the U.S. and the U.K.) appears to be a key obstacle to ending an equally brutal (but maybe not genocidal) civil war in Uganda. As the Australian reports, the “notoriously cruel rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army has offered talks with the Ugandan Government to end a 20-year civil war. . .” “The Government has accepted the offer, but a deal may be thwarted by the International Criminal Court, which last year indicted five LRA leaders for war crimes.”
Look, no one likes to see the bad guys escape justice. But the human rights community’s obsession with international criminal tribunals is not particularly helpful. As terrible as it is to contemplate, rather than saving lives, the ICC here could very well be causing more deaths by preventing a peace deal from being reached.