The (Non-U.S.) ICC Backlash Begins
Like our readers, I am enjoying the terrific and sophisticated discussion on Ben Wittes’ important and highly persuasive book (My short reaction: He’s pretty much right about most things). I hate to interrupt this flow with non-Wittes stuff, but I couldn’t resist a brief note on the growing non-U.S.-related backlash against the ICC.
Indeed, just as the U.S. seems to be close to electing a pro-ICC president in Senator Obama (or even in Senator McCain), it is the rest of the world that is beginning to grumble about the ICC. Today, South Africa(!) and Libya proposed that the U.N. Security Council exercise its ICC Article 16 powers to suspend the investigation of Sudan’s president for a year. China and Russia appear to be supporting this move, with the U.S.(!), France, and Britain supporting the ICC Prosecutor. Meanwhile, Sudan is planning to seek an ICJ opinion on the legality of the UN Security Council’s referral of Sudan to the ICC (see my and Kevin’s posts here on what we both think is a loser argument for Sudan).
And most importantly, perhaps, the reliably pro-ICC NYT is running articles that concede that yes, there could be some downsides to the inevitable march of international justice. Like Bashir’s arrest warrant resulting in the scuttling of the North-South peace deal in Sudan and sparking potentially even more chaos and violence there. After all, what exactly does Sudan’s Bashir have to lose now? He’s already facing an arrest for crimes against humanity.