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Views On The News: International Courts

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Views On The News: International Courts

Following the conviction of Charles Taylor and the now on-hold trial of Ratko Mladic, volunteers raise awkward questions about the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and tribunal proceedings.  London Legal Salon coordinator, Luke Samuel, responds with far-reaching insights and tells us it is an irredeemable behemoth set up to massage the moral standing of Western powers.  He explains why the ICC is, in essence:  anti-democratic, is undermining the sovereignty of nations and cannot stop ‘war crimes’ or facilitate reconciliation. Interwoven with evocative news footage and compelling arguments, we are left in no doubt that we’d be better off without the ICC altogether.

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Related topics: Debates, Democracy, International, Social Change

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Dan said:

I think Luke is spot on in arguing for the distinction between a crime and an act of war. A crime is something an individual commits against the community by breaking the laws or norms established by the community. An act of war is between two communities or when the community itself is divided and is in a state of civil war. This begs the question – why is it that today people are prone to confuse the two things? After all Clausewitz recognised a long time ago that war was the continuation of politics by other means. Why are we prone to see acts of war in Africa or the Middle East as simply evil crimes?

Paul said:

I realise that it is important to argue that each country should decide how to provide justice, let’s face it the idea that so called third parties are neutral is nonsense and anyway what is wrong with having a stake and taking sides. However, does this mean that the ultimate goal is to ensure sovereignty and nation level justice – that that is all we can aspire to?

kaitlin said:

I completely agree that the shift of our governments intervening on some moral ‘obligation’ rather than political ones is deeply troubling. Who in their right mind would view governments such as in the UK or the US are morally superior. It is really important to look at who are making the decisions and not let ourselves be deluded in thinking that someone has to do something and so it may as well be those that wield the power globally.

Joshua said:

The point about the line between what is a crime and what is not is very blurred is spot on. Who decides what is a war crime and what is war on terror…I think we know who.

Madiha said:

In some of the questions there seems to be an assumption that you either get involved in the ICC and these kind of institutions or you are sitting back and doing nothing for justice. But as Luke points out really well, the ICC intervenes and denies justice like Luke’s example of Kenya.

Jemima said:

Agree with Luke. Abolish the ICC. Not only is it useless but it flies in the face of allowing a people to decide the futures of their own nations, something we should not be handing over so easily to these institutions.

JJ said:

Yep another stormer you do get some excellent people in your videos and challenge us with a wake up call. Unsure on his point on universalism will have to think on that one.

Hamish said:

Ooooh good vid not sure if I agree but you have made me squirm and think

Oli Tamara said:

He deals with the victim issue well I have never felt that retrubution had much to offer even if it is understandable that people want it. Keeping killers out of our lives does matter though but then there seem to be plenty of Western rulers who have sanctioned murder.

Sarah K said:

Very informative comparison with Nuremburg I hadn’t thought about it like that, in terms of moral authority to convict people, I always thought the ICC was just a bit unrepresentative.

Abti said:

There is no doubt Mladic is a butcher but I agree the West is in no position to run his trial they created the war in the Balkans in my view.

Piotr Gorzynski said:

The highest court in Europe or the world has it’s authority unravelled as issues such as sovereignty and the idea of the public are put to the fore. Some interesting questions here.