In response to the recent awful-yet-sadly predictable video of Islamic State fighters destroying irreplaceable ancient artifacts in Mosul, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has come up with a brilliant plan — refer members of the apocalyptic cult to the International Criminal Court!
“We are expecting some reaction from the International Criminal Court,” Irina Bokova told reporters in Paris. “It’s very important because it will mobilize a big part of the international community.”
To which one might reply, “Mobilize how?”
Which is to say, it seems highly unlikely that a gang of nihilists who man military checkpoints with twelve year-old soldiers, burn captives alive, gleefully behead noncombatants on camera for YouTube upload, and never miss an opportunity to crow about their eagerness to be martyred will be the same sort of people who fret about the opinion of the international community.
But let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, they were that sort of people. Why should they fear the ICC — an organization which after more than a decade and $1 billion dollars has precisely twoconvictions to match up alongside innumerable embarrassments and failures?
And if the purpose of the ICC — as evidenced by its sorry track record, monomaniacal fixation on selectively prosecuting countries without powerful benefactors, and faux boasts of impartiality — is not actually universal justice or even deterrence, what is it?
The answer, more often than not, appears to be: A tool for great powers to impose their will and perhaps the most expensive outrage-meets-impotence press release factory in the history of mankind.