July 1st 2002, where were you back then? Were you at work? or was it a weekend? Were you celebrating an occasion or mourning a loss? Regardless of what was going on in your life; the international community welcomed a beacon of hope, a guiding light that would bring justice to the international community. The International Criminal Court was born, and with it; a message to mankind. The days of the tyrants were numbered.
But unlike Hollywood, and like the UN, the ICC turned out to be a good idea… As for reality… well let’s take a look at some of the figures.
Over the course of nearly a decade, the ICC has issued 20 warrants, 10 of whom still remain at large, 3 of whom perished, and only a few who have been arrested and are on trial. Recently; after a trial of 5 years regarding a man handed over to the ICC 6 years ago, have the ICC issued their first verdict. Thomas Lubanga has been found guilty of a war crime. The crime of using children as soldiers. But if one looks at the case; had it not been for the firmness of the preceding judge; the case might have continued just like the never ending soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful”
Pause for a moment and consider this; A man who was accused of 5 million deaths, looting, arson and other heinous crimes was found guilty on the charge of Child Soldiers. If that doesn’t expose gaping holes in the ICC then perhaps the fact that out of the 120 countries that back the ICC, China and America (two security council nations) are not amongst that list.
Perhaps, even more insulting to the highest criminal court in the World is the fact that on search engines, it is dwarfed by the popularity of the International Cricket Council, suggesting that the ICC, while a respectable court, is not extremely well known or well understood.
But the ICC is not completely to blame. Many African Countries refuse to extradite their own people to the hands of what they claim to be a “pro west” court. Then there is the dilemma that the ICC can not enforce its warrants, by dragging the tyrants through the streets and hauling them up in front of the judge.
So let me come to the focal point of my little rant; What about Bashar al Assad and Joseph Kony? The “co-accused” in the Lobango trial, lives freely according to the Human Rights watchdog so why would Bashar al Assad and Kony fear the wrath of the international criminal court. A video went viral, and the world was made aware of a situation that has existed for nearly 2 decades. Two decades. Yet, the world “liked,” “tweeted,” and “reblogged” posts alluding to the matter, without actually knowing what is going on in Uganda. Maybe the very same clicktivists of the cyber world should be treated to the fact that the Court the might one day seal Kony’s fate, will only take over half a decade to do so.
“Peace through Justice” is what the ICC belligerently proclaims. Yet, while justice seems to be a noble idea, it seems on the whole, quaint.