David Bosco

Is the ICC Investigating Crimes by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan?

A warm relationship between the Obama administration and the International Criminal Court is in danger over new inquiries about U.S. detainee abuse.

Last spring, U.S. officials got a rude surprise from the Netherlands. It came in the form of a letter from Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The subject was Afghanistan, and the letter described evidence that U.S. personnel had abused more than two dozen detainees held in that country, mostly between 2003 and 2006. The prosecutor invited the U.S. government to provide information to the court about those cases and its broader detention practices in Afghanistan.

Continue Reading

Threat of Justice

Israel fears prosecution in The Hague, and the Palestinians know it. But does the world’s war crimes court want to get involved?

At the beginning of April, Palestine submitted applications to join more than a dozen international organizations and treaties. The move was a calibrated step in Palestine's elaborate dance toward recognition as a fully sovereign state. The bid provoked all the expected responses: The Palestinians' backers applauded the move, while Israeli and American officials argued that "unilateral" steps toward recognition were provocative without a comprehensive peace deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned "the Palestinians will get a state only though direct negotiations, and not through empty declarations."

Continue Reading

Pot, Meet Kettle

While Washington was bashing Russia at the U.N. for violating international law, it was facing similar criticisms of its own legal record.

At the United Nations this week, senior U.S. officials have been blasting Russian officials for disregarding established international law and rules by manhandling Ukrainian territory. In Geneva, with much less public attention, U.S. officials have been on the receiving end of accusations that it, too, is circumventing international law.

Continue Reading

Cool Ties

From Libya to Syria, the inside story of how the Obama administration went from supporting to sidelining international justice.

On March 19, 2011, as Western warplanes began pummeling Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces in Libya, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague were preparing their own offensive. With the aid of communications intercepts and testimony from defectors, they raced to investigate attacks by the Libyan regime on demonstrators and political opponents.

Continue Reading

Return To Sender

Why Ukraine’s ousted president won’t be tried in The Hague.

For the last few days, Ukraine's parliament has been hurriedly wiping away the last vestiges of Viktor Yanukovych's presidency. Now many parliamentarians would like to ship Yanukovych himself off to The Hague for trial. On Tuesday, parliament voted to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try the former president and two of his associates for the killing of several dozen protesters during recent protests and street violence. "If we don't take this decision, we will not move forward," one deputy argued.

Continue Reading