News

    Lubanga Conviction Boosts ICC - But Weaknesses Remain

    Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga (C) speaks to his lawyers in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court where he was found guilty of war crimes for recruiting and deploying child soldiers during a five-year conflict until 2003, in The Hague, March
    Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga (C) speaks to his lawyers in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court where he was found guilty of war crimes for recruiting and deploying child soldiers during a five-year conflict until 2003, in The Hague, March
    Henry Ridgwell

    Wednesday’s conviction of Thomas Lubanga at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of recruiting child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was a historic moment for the institution - the first successful prosecution in its 10-year history. But analysts say the ICC is still far short of becoming a truly international court of justice.

    Luis Moreno-Ocampo

    International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo speaks at a news conference on Kenya at the ICC in The Hague, January 24, 2012
    International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo speaks at a news conference on Kenya at the ICC in The Hague, January 24, 2012
    As the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo has become the global face of the International Criminal Court at the Hague. The conviction of Thomas Lubanga - the first in the court’s history - was a big moment for the Argentine lawyer.

    "An international court investigated the suffering of some of the most vulnerable members of humanity - children in war zones," he said. "The court provided a fair trial to the suspect and convicted him. It is a victory for humanity."

    The charges in Lubanga’s conviction were based solely on the use of child soldiers.

    ICC analyst Phil Clark of the University of London, says the scope and reach of the court remains limited.

    “I think there’s growing skepticism about whether the ICC can change conflict dynamics on the ground," Clark said. "I think there’s a feeling that the court is still a very distanced institution, it’s based in the Hague, it doesn’t touch the lives of people on the ground.”

    Africa

    In addition to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ICC prosecutor has opened investigations into seven other situations in Africa.

    Among them is the inquiry into the Lord's Resistance Army, originally from Uganda, whose leader, Joseph Kony, is also accused of the forcible recruitment of tens of thousands of child soldiers.

    Kony gained worldwide media attention in recent days after an online video made by the advocacy group Invisible Children, highlighting the allegations against him, spread all over the internet.

    But analyst Phil Clark says the court has been inconsistent in its targets.

    “A good example of this recently is the fact that the ICC stood by while the Ugandan government fired on its civilians after the elections last year," he said. "That’s an example of a country that the ICC has been working in for a very long time, where there’s been no change in the conflict.”

    Politics

    Three permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the U.S., Russia and China - have refused to sign up with the International Criminal Court, citing fears of politically-motivated prosecutions.

    Clark says ICC Prosecutor Ocampo is building a warmer relationship with President Barack Obama.

    “He’s very pleased that the U.S. has allowed investigations both in Darfur and also recently in Libya, which shows that the U.S. perhaps is warming to the ICC," said Clark. "But it’s only when those big powers come on board and are willing to subject their own personnel to prosecutions that we can argue that this has become a truly global institution.”

    Ocampo leaves office in June, to be replaced by Fatou Bensouda of Gambia - the first time an African will hold the chief prosecutor job.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora