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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 10:56 PM
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War crimes: talk but not much action
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Since July 1, 2002, the International Criminal Court in The Hague has been responsible for prosecuting war crimes. War crimes committed before that year are dealt with by ad hoc tribunals set by the United Nations Security Council - for instance, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the ICT for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

To get anything before the ICC is a tortuous process.

The hilarious television drama The Trial Of Tony Blair, about the prosecution of Blair for war crimes, may have given a slightly rosy impression about how easy it is to get a politician into one of those bullet-proof glass cages in The Hague.

It's not easy. The case has to have "sufficient gravity", and you can argue forever about that. The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, nor is Israel. They don't accept its jurisdiction to try their citizens for war crimes. A state or country has to accept the jurisdiction of the tribunal before the court can start the machinery of justice.

In Gaza, there are more than 1200 Palestinians dead, of whom more than 400 were children, and thousands more injured. According to Human Rights Watch, the Israelis exploded white phosphorous shells over Gaza which left victims horribly burnt. UN relief supplies were destroyed and last weekend an Israeli tank killed two boys in a UN school.

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