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Why the World Won’t Play Army for the ICC

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By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny

Here is the opening paragraph of the AP’s latest report from the South Sudan beat:

Judges at the International Criminal Court on Monday urged the U.N. Security Council to “take the necessary measures” to tackle Sudan’s persistent refusal to arrest the country’s president and send him to The Hague to stand trial on charges of orchestrating genocide in Darfur.

Further:

Underscoring a growing frustration at the court over the lack of support from the Security Council, the judges stressed Monday that “if there is no follow-up action” by the council in cases it sends to the court, any referral “would never achieve its ultimate goal, namely, to put an end to impunity.”

And yet despite these cajoling admonitions — and the fact that it was the Security Council itself that “urged the court in 2005 to investigate widespread atrocities in Darfur” — the United Nations is not expected to scramble a crack team of blue helmets to extract Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and drag him kicking and screaming to the Hague.

Why?

Could it be that after more than a decade of watching the ICC swagger and bloviate and expend hundreds of millions of dollars to no tangible end — never mind make progress re: the eradication of “impunity,” which is the last thing any member of the Security Council actually desires —  the United Nations and its primary power-brokers simply do not take the Court as seriously as it takes itself?

Did ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda herself not declare less than three months ago her plan to “hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases”?

Does the ICC believe the members of the Security Council somehow missed the news that the “very, very amateur” prosecution of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had met an ignominious end? Or that the African Union very nearly endorsed a mass exodus of countries from the ICC in protest of the Court’s seriously suspicious fixation on Africa and Africans? Or that the Court’s past activities may very well have strengthened al-Bashir’s hand and prolonged his rule?

Twelve years. $1 billion. Two convictions of obscure Congolese warlords.

It is going to be a hard sell getting any nation to go out and play army for the ICC based on that track record.