On Darfur, the ICC Prosecutor Lays It Down

Justice in Conflict

(Photo: Mark Knobil) (Photo: Mark Knobil)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has always had something of a phobia of politics. The Court has a deep-seated fear of appearing to be political. The Rome Statute and only the Rome Statute, its prosecutors insist, informs its decision-making. Politics simply cannot and does not affect or impinge on any decisions the Court makes. To admit otherwise would somehow destroy the integrity and independence of the Court.

To many observers, however, the ICC isn’t just in denial. The idea that the ICC isn’t or shouldn’t be political is neither possible nor desirable. Sure, the Court shouldn’t be beholden to the political interests of the most powerful states. But in a world dominated by self-interested and easily distracted states, the Court needs to be political and to act politically in order to survive. Without politics, international criminal justice would be a tick-box exercise alien to those against whom…

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