This summer, the International Criminal Court makes its way to prime time television. The new show Crossing Lines comes from the writer and executive producer of both Criminal Minds and Third Watch. An international police drama, Crossing Lines focuses on a global team of police working with the ICC to track down the world’s worst criminals.
In the midst of the referendum on independence in Sudan in early 2011, there was great concern that the situation would deteriorate into a full-blown civil war. Tensions were high, with outbreaks of violence in many of the border towns, such as Abyei. Calls were made stateside for the appointing of a high-level US diplomat for Darfur, as well as making genocide prevention a priority among the international community. After the vote on January 9, 2011, we saw the creation of the new state of South Sudan. There was great hope among many that this was the beginning of a path toward peace in the region.
On the heels of its first conviction, all eyes are on the International Criminal Court. The world is watching to see if this accomplishment can assist the court in building momentum in its fight against impunity. With fourteen other cases currently before the court, as well as numerous others under preliminary investigation, the court seems to have great potential. For its proponents, things are finally starting to look up. Its opponents, however, might see one conviction in ten years as little reason to celebrate.
Views of the Kony2012 campaign launched by Invisible Children (IC) have drastically fallen after its initial premiere on 5 March and the subsequent backlash. On 16 March, IC founder and star of the video Jason Russell was back in the news after having a breakdown in San Diego. The rhetorical space for advocacy around the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been eroded. The work of IC, in its own right, has largely been discredited and oversimplified.
It is safe to say that on March 14, 2012, history was made in the realm of international justice. On this day, Thomas Lubanga, former head of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UCP) and its former military wing, the Patriotic Forces of the Liberation of Congo, was convicted in the International Criminal Court (ICC). Charged with war crimes, including conscripting and enslaving child soldiers, Lubanga will now face sentencing in the court.
Originally scheduled to take place on 28 November, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s legislative and executive elections bled into the 30th following logistical issues in delivering ballots, widespread irregularities, and long lines on the first day of polling. With over 30 million voters, thousands of polling stations, and lack of basic infrastructure, DRC’s elections were a logistical nightmare.
Understanding when and how we ought to act on matters of humanitarian concern is difficult enough without adding blatant misinformation to the mix. It is essential to be clear about who it is we are dealing with, and for what they do or do not actually stand. To further complicate such matters without regard for the truth only serves to assist those who would wish harm on the innocent.
Sixteen years after the campaign of mass genocide in Rwanda, the aftermath of this grave tragedy is still ongoing. On Tuesday March 2, the widow of assassinated President Juvenal Habyarimana was arrested by French Police on an international arrest warrant issued from Rwanda.