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Fri Sep 14, 2018, 10:25 AM

U.S. Attack on I.C.C. Is Seen as Bolstering World's Despots

Source: New York Times

U.S. Attack on I.C.C. Is Seen as Bolstering World’s Despots

By Matt Apuzzo and Marlise Simons
Sept. 13, 2018

THE HAGUE — In a city that symbolizes international peace and justice, the ambassador from Burundi has had a lonely job. As her government faces accusations of murder, rape and torture, she has made the unpopular argument that the International Criminal Court should butt out.

The ambassador, Vestine Nahimana, says the court is a politicized, unchecked intrusion on Burundi’s sovereignty. “It’s difficult,” Ms. Nahimana said in an interview here. “In a way, we’ve been isolated.”

No longer. Her critiques echo those of warlords and despots whose arguments have long been dismissed by the West. But Burundi’s position got a powerful voice of support this week from President Trump, whose national security adviser, John R. Bolton, declared the international court “ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright dangerous,” and threatened sanctions against the court’s prosecutors and judges who pursued cases against Americans.

“We can only rejoice that another country has seen the same wrong,” Ms. Nahimana said. “Perhaps this will be a message that the sovereignty of a country must be respected, in the U.S. and in other countries. That’s also what the White House asks.”

For the Trump administration, Mr. Bolton’s speech was the latest example of disdain for global organizations and — in this case — taking the same side as strongmen and dictators. But for the International Criminal Court, a relatively young institution, the new White House policy of open hostility comes at a perilous time.

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Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/world/europe/icc-burundi-bolton.html

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