Checking on the Health of the International Criminal Court

THE HAGUE — At the glassy, eco-minded new building of the International Criminal Court here in the Netherlands’ capital, people who are being tried may still be called “detainees,” but make no mistake: they remain accused of such atrocities as murder, torture and child-soldier recruitment as well as gang-raping women and girls. It’s business as … Read more

South African Decision to Quit the ICC Draws Critics in Africa and Beyond

South Africa’s announcement on Oct. 21 that it intends to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, has met strong opposition from civil society groups in that country and other African and international human-rights organizations. Africa has played major roles in the independent court, which … Read more

A Top Candidate Is Sidelined for the Post of UN Expert on Torture

The United Nations Human Rights Council will soon choose five new experts to monitor various human-rights topics, with nominees put forth by the council’s president. One top candidate, on torture, has stirred up controversy, and recently, his candidacy was sidelined for the second-top candidate in an unusual decision by the council president. Special procedures, as … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

One Year Later, the World Must Stop Boko Haram Genocide

It was a year ago this week that the terrorist group Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) not long ago, carried out a late-night abduction of 276 girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, loading them into trucks and disappearing into the dense forest. The abduction … Read more

Palestinians Move Fast to Join the ICC as Bid for Full Statehood Fails at the UN

The Palestinians’ failed proposal to formally establish a state and end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017 through a vote in the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 30 continued to reflect the immense influence of the United States on the Palestinians’ ability to assert themselves through the world body. The vote … Read more

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WORLDVIEWS

Next Best in 2016? The UN Secretary-General Must Be a Reformer

GENEVA — For only the second time — the first was in 1996 — the electoral campaigns for the American president and the United Nations secretary-general are running in parallel. Both promise to be long and protracted. Each already has a growing slate of presumptive candidates pounding flesh and employing lobbyists. But the next two … Read more

New Protocols and Policies Tackle Sexual Violence in War

As Sunni Muslim extremists first seized strategic cities in Iraq last week, and a United Nations spokesman for the human-rights high commissioner, Navi Pillay, said that rapes had been part of the mayhem, leaving four female victims dead from suicide, the first global conference to end such heinous crimes took place in London. There, foreign … Read more

Rapes Committed During South Sudan’s Conflict Detailed by the UN

Sexual violence remains a persistent war crime even as the United Nations Security Council and many governments try to fight such atrocities against civilians with condemnations, international law, sanctions and tribunals. The International Criminal Court has just issued a new policy paper to increase prosecutions of gender-based crimes. And as a summit to end sexual … Read more

In Synch, China and Russia Vote No on Syria Referral to ICC

Russia and China have once again blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria. The latest resolution, proposed with great consideration by France and co-sponsored by 65 countries, including the United States, was to take a long-awaited, assertive step forward by referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court for investigation of … Read more

Graphic Photos Reveal Syria’s Deadly Mix of Torture and Starvation

Syrian starvation victim

Systematic widespread torture and starvation of prisoners held by the Syrian government has been documented by a team of forensic pathologists and confirmed by international legal experts using evidence provided through a former Syrian military official, according to a recent presentation held by France at the United Nations. High-resolution images projected on a screen to … Read more

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Congolese Rebel Leader Faces Broad Charges of Sex Crimes

Bosco Ntaganda

The first step to possibly try Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese warlord born in Rwanda, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, began recently at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Ntaganda, who turned himself in to the court last year by going to the United States Embassy in Rwanda, allegedly committed the crimes as … Read more

A Rape Accusation in Northern Mali and the UN’s Awkward Response

A woman in Gao after the French attack in January 2013.

Now that Gao, a remote but critical outpost in northern Mali, has become a hub of military personnel — Mali Army, French troops and UN peacekeepers — to fend off terrorist incursions, it is also a simmering spot for sexual assaults and intimidation of women who live there. These acts are committed in the shadows … Read more

ICC Prosecutor Asks to Postpone Trial Against Kenyan President

Kenyatta, president of Kenya

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, has asked for a three-month postponement in the trial for the case against the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. The trial, already postponed several times, was to have started on Feb. 5, 2014. Kenyatta was accused of being an indirect co-perpetrator … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Columbia University Adds New Gender Focus to Its International Affairs School

Teenage girls in Cameroon

Gender is at the center of international agendas, not at their periphery. Today, plans in Sochi for the forthcoming Olympics — the emblem of international cooperation — are riven by disputes over Russia’s policies toward lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender persons. Peacemakers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must address the needs of more than 2.5 million displaced … Read more

Indian Ban on Gay Sex Draws UN Human Rights Rebuke

Gay pride parade, Bangalore

An unexpected Indian Supreme Court ruling on Dec. 11 upholding a law that criminalizes same-sex relationships drew a swift rebuke within 24 hours from Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who called it a violation of international rights. The Indian court decision came barely a day after international Human Rights Day. … Read more

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Will Kony Surrender as Forces Intervene in the Central African Republic?

Central African Republic village 2013

Joseph Kony, the notorious Ugandan warlord who has been on the run in the central African bush for years, may be hiding and ready to surrender in the Central African Republic as the United Nations is most likely to send a peacekeeping force to the country. Discussions on the grave humanitarian and political conditions in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

War Crimes Against Women and Girls Must Be Prosecuted

Three children walk to clean dishes in the Niger river in Gao, Mali.

  There is now overwhelming evidence that conflicts exacerbate pre-existing gender discrimination and put women and girls at heightened risk of sexual, physical and psychological violence. One appalling example of this evidence is the report recently to the Human Rights Council by the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which highlights the threat and use … Read more

The Failure of Mainstream Media to Cover the UN: Who’s to Blame?

Security Council Meeting-draft resolution on Syria chemical weapons

As media coverage of the United Nations dwindles and becomes more hyperfocused on geopolitics, the public learns less and less about the UN itself and how it operates. Who is to blame for the decreasing, narrow coverage — the press, a disinterested public or the UN itself? Barbara Crossette spoke on the subject at the … Read more

The International Criminal Court Fends Off ‘Ferocious’ Attack, Prosecutor Says

Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor – Fatou Bensouda – was busy in New York this week, rallying support for the court on the sidelines of the 68th United Nations General Assembly annual debate. The Gambia native, who succeeded Luis Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine, to head the  prosecutor’s office, talked exclusively to PassBlue about her work … Read more

Nobody Wants This Bosnian Serb War Criminal

Radislav Krstic

Radislav Krstic was indicted on Oct. 30, 1998, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for his role in the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Krstic was the deputy commander and chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb Army from October 1994 to July 1995, when he was promoted to major general … Read more

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