June 08, 2005
Establishment Claus: Let's Root for the ICC
by Guest Contributor
June 8, 2005 12:57 AM
Suzanne Nossel observes that the ICC's investigation of war crimes in Darfur began today. The ICC has its flaws, but the victims of what the Administration has forthrightly called a genocide deserve for us to hope the prosecutions are successful.
Like Nossel, I'm skeptical that the investigation will slow the killing on its own. Slowing the killing, I'm afraid, is more a question for military strategists than legal ones. But bloggers can join this group and make a small difference. Those of you that haven't should.
It seems to me that the greatest impact the ICC and such courts can hope to have is that fear of post-war prosecution -- should one turn out to be on the losing side -- will prevent people from committing atrocities. Otherwise, the benefits don't seem to be worth the costs; so much money spent on prosecutions, in a part of the world where that money spent on agricultural and medical technology would have such an impact.
Reminds me of a conservative reading of the Geneva Conventions: they work only between formal armies, when both sides accept and live by them, because the soldiers know that if they begin to violate the rules, the other side will feel free to do the same. (Of course, the alternative idea is that the GCs were meant to create a standard of how human beings ought to be treated regardless of how they themselves or their fellow fighters might behave.)
Yeah, I agree with a lot of it - but the investigations have started and at this point either things work or a few hundred thousand innocent folks don't get justice, so I'm willing to put them aside and hope all goes well.