The ICC runs into the world’s largest powder house waving a torch.
That is how Lawfare Tyranny described the International Criminal Court’s ill-advised and completely unwarranted entree into the most complex, thorniest political conflict in modern history.
And now, apparently, others are beginning to wake up to the fact that inserting a highly politicized, truculent aspiring transnational behemoth with a track record of acerbating, not reconciling, conflicts into the mix might not be such a great idea.
A United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by New Zealand and circulated amongst that body’s fifteen members, seeks an end to “provocative acts” on both sides, explicitly calling on Israel to stop settlement construction and strongly suggesting Palestinian leaders “to refrain from referring…a situation concerning Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the International Criminal Court.”
Naturally, Amnesty International — an organization that has never been able to discern the lofty mission statement of the ICC from the reality of its practices — is not pleased.
Amnesty’s International Justice Legal Adviser Jonathan O’Donohue went so far as to insist if New Zealand did not back off the resolution “it would undermine the leadership it has shown in promoting international justice.”
Even setting aside the plain truth that the ICC chases rather than deters atrocities, where is the evidence that the Court “promotes” international justice?
After thirteen years and more than a billion dollars the ICC has exactly two convictions under its belt — a pair of obscure Congolese warlords — and everyone from Desmond Tutu to India to the UN Security Council itself understands the ICC has quickly devolved from purported honest broker to yet another hammer of the Great Powers to impose their will when it is convenient to their aims.
And when it is not convenient?
Well, then it becomes a matter of do as we say, not as we do.
“The scale of injustice felt on both sides,” O’Donohue says, “plays a key role in maintaining the cycle of violence.”
That’s no doubt true. But the ICC is far too compromised an institution to ameliorate that problem.