David Bosco

How to Destroy the International Criminal Court From Within

Kenya's president is charged with inciting ethnic violence that killed thousands. He's about to talk his way out of it like it's a parking ticket.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, arrived at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Oct. 9, smiling broadly. Making his way through a phalanx of media, he greeted chanting well-wishers. But the almost festive atmosphere belied the purpose of the visit: Kenyatta was there for a status hearing, where he discussed with judges charges that he helped incite Kenya's spasm of post-election violence in late 2007.

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All Heat and No Fire

The U.N. is going to determine if Hamas and Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. Even if they did, what can the U.N. do about it?

The human rights machinery of the United Nations is gearing up to investigate the conflict in Gaza. Its new investigative commission has a mandate to look into abuses by all sides in Gaza, but public attention has centered on whether Israeli forces committed crimes during its weeks-long air and ground operations. Most observers acknowledge that Hamas's indiscriminate -- if usually ineffective -- rocket attacks are illegal, but the question of whether Israel's targeting policy crossed the legal line has been hotly disputed. Don't expect clarity anytime soon. Recent history suggests that the U.N.'s investigation won't produce consensus -- and won't pave the way for prosecutions either.

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When the Blue Helmets Are to Blame

International peacekeepers -- like the ones who stood by in Srebrenica -- could soon be held accountable for their actions.

What happens when international peacekeepers turn their backs on people seeking protection? Recently, a Dutch court decided that a government can be held legally responsible for the failures of peacekeeping troops it has sent abroad. For victims' families, the ruling is an important victory, one that not only identifies the peacekeepers' failures but paves the way for compensation. For countries that dispatch peacekeepers to crisis zones around the world, however, the decision could be a worrisome precedent.

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Is the ICC Investigating Crimes by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan?

A warm relationship between the Obama administration and the International Criminal Court is in danger over new inquiries about U.S. detainee abuse.

Last spring, U.S. officials got a rude surprise from the Netherlands. It came in the form of a letter from Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The subject was Afghanistan, and the letter described evidence that U.S. personnel had abused more than two dozen detainees held in that country, mostly between 2003 and 2006. The prosecutor invited the U.S. government to provide information to the court about those cases and its broader detention practices in Afghanistan.

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Threat of Justice

Israel fears prosecution in The Hague, and the Palestinians know it. But does the world’s war crimes court want to get involved?

At the beginning of April, Palestine submitted applications to join more than a dozen international organizations and treaties. The move was a calibrated step in Palestine's elaborate dance toward recognition as a fully sovereign state. The bid provoked all the expected responses: The Palestinians' backers applauded the move, while Israeli and American officials argued that "unilateral" steps toward recognition were provocative without a comprehensive peace deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned "the Palestinians will get a state only though direct negotiations, and not through empty declarations."

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