International Liberalism and R2P. Have liberalists given up on the ICC?

bashar-al-assad-650x433Granted. The title is a little unfair. The truth is that I am only referring to Michael Ignatieff, but I have the impression that the point is extendible to other international liberals, or rather liberalists. This is pure perception. I would be very happy to be proven wrong. I encourage you to use the space below for that.

The UN inquiry mission on Syria has expanded their list of suspected war criminals. When they presented their report at the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, they assured that their evidence is solid enough to prepare any indictment at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Syria has not ratified the Rome Statute, but the case could be referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council, as it did unanimously with Libya in 2011 (Resolution 1970).

Michael Ignatieff gave an eloquent lecture at King’s College London on Monday. The title was “Legality, Legitimacy & Intervention After Ukraine”. Initially it said “Syria”, but I guess the organisers (or the speaker) decided to adapt the name to the most current events. In any case, Ignatieff talked about both countries.

At first he assured he was not going to advocate an intervention, but I suppose he could not help it and in the end he supported an action based on the idea of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), a concept proposed in 2001 by the ICISS, a commission he was member of. Continue reading “International Liberalism and R2P. Have liberalists given up on the ICC?”


Syria: Diplomacy versus international criminal law?

A fragile ceasefire took hold yesterday in Syria. It is the result of Kofi Annan’s plan, backed by the UN Security Council about a month ago. The plan, it’s important to note, doesn’t demand a regime change in Syria, but only a commitment to an “inclusive Syria-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people”. Russia and China were not willing to go any further.

In the beginning, Europeans’ attitude was rather energetic demanding Assad to step down. However, Europe is softening its line now. After the Libyan experience, and certainly more focused on domestic economy-related affairs, the EU seems frightened of the regional instability that would derive from a prolonged war in Syria. The Union has been struggling to play a meaningful role in the country, and it now openly backs Annan’s diplomatic approach and proposes a political path forward not preconditioned on Assad’s resignation. Continue reading “Syria: Diplomacy versus international criminal law?”

Prosecution of Gaddafi at the ICC: The UK Government sets a very important example

By now, it can hardly go unknown for anybody (definitely for anybody who is likely to read this post) that the UN Security Council has adopted rather categorical measures against Muammar Gaddafi, including, among others, his prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC). It seems fair to say that the international community has got quite surprised by the relatively fast response of the Security Council (only a few days after the spark of the revolts and the brutal response by the Libyan leader) and, most notably, by the strength of its reaction. This is the second time since the establishment of the ICC in 2002 that the Security Council submits a case to the Court Prosecutor, the previous occasion being the one of Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, as regards to the crimes committed in Darfur. The resolution of the Security Council is particularly surprising considering that 3 out of the 5 states that hold veto powers, namely, China, Russia and the US, haven´t ratified yet the Rome Statute of the ICC, and are not likely to do so in the near future either.

In this context, the UK Government has set a very important example for other governments. Continue reading “Prosecution of Gaddafi at the ICC: The UK Government sets a very important example”