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The critic’s assertion that International justice has engaged in activities that depict double standards is right. Critics of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have raised pertinent issues about the equity and biases of international justice. Notably, the perception of the double standards has developed since several leaders, which the ICC has arrested and charged in its courts, come from developing countries like Africa, Asia, and other marginalized regions of the world.
For example, former Liberian president Charles Taylor and other African leaders in Rwanda have received their sentence, while others like President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to face trial. The indictment and arrest of the leaders of these regions create an image of double standards in the minds of several people, who tend to believe that the ICC exercises double standards in the manner of conducting its operations.
The fact that few arrests take place in European and the North American continents further compound the issue of double standards and clearly presents ICC as a court of justice exercising double standards. Various leaders and individuals indicted, those already sentenced, and those facing arrest come from countries in continents such as Africa and Asia. Augusto Pinochet, Muammar Gaddafi, and Omar Al Bashir are leaders who come from these countries in Arabia, Africa, and other developing countries of the world. Fundamentally, the continued arrest of the leaders of these regions compounds the situation and increases the distrust that several individuals develop towards the court of justice. The recent civil unrest witnessed in several Arab countries such as Libya and Egypt led to a regional protest from the various continents to pull out of the Rome statute.
Another element that presents the issue of double standards from the international court of justice is the location and the power given to the statute. The distant location creates a feeling that international bodies undermine the sovereignty and ability of democratic nations across the world to administer justice to the perpetrators.
Evidently, a number of international courts administering justice like the ICC have their main offices in regions such as the Netherlands, which are far from the most affected continents such as Africa and Asia. In addition, the long time taken by the courts to deliver the required sentences on the victims increases the level of distrust that people have on these international bodies of justice. The inefficiency of the justice system, the location of the courts, and the absence of transparency are some of the factors that have increased the double standards in the international bodies of justice.
Mechanism of Redress
The international fields of justice can employ aspects like delegation of duties, democracy, and transparency. Employment of these aspects is among the things that the international field of justice can do to address the challenge of double standards. The increasing number of genocides in several countries like Rwanda and Sierra Leone led to the creation of an international system of justice to administer the required justice on the perpetrators. However, with the increasing arrests and prosecution of leaders from African, Arabian, and Asian countries, the trust of international justice in line with aspects of impartial delivery of justice declines.
From the perspective of African, Asian, and Arabian countries, several individuals view the bodies exercising international justice like the ICC as bodies, which practice double standards. The warrant of arrests or summons issued to leaders in developing countries raises many questions regarding the double standards of the ICC. The recent protests and attempts made by African leaders to pull out of the Rome statute elucidate the serious need of the international justice systems to exercise equity and fairness in undertaking their mandate.
Delegation of duties to various countries of the world and transparency in the delivery of justice is very important in addressing the problem of double standards. Delegation of duties implies the act of creating offices in various countries of the world. Furthermore, a delegation of duties incorporates the act of giving countries of the world the opportunity to deliver the right sentences to the perpetrators in their home countries in accordance with the provisions of international justice.
Through delegation of duties and empowering countries of the world to sentence the perpetrators in their home countries, the trust that individuals have on international bodies of justice like ICC increases. Delegation of duties also reduces the perception held by several individuals concerning the issue of double standards. Transparency in the manner of executing justice materializes successfully through delegation of duties and clarity on justice delivery.
When the international bodies of justice delegate their roles to various courts in different countries and supervise their activities to ensure that they are in line with their provisions, the issues of transparency become evident. Therefore, double standards, which is a challenge facing international justice, reduces. In addition, a delegation of duties enables various countries across the world to develop their courts of justice and deliver impartial sentences in line with the provisions of international justice to perpetrators in their home countries.
Through the act of administering justice to perpetrators in their homelands, countries, and individuals have the opportunity to witness the proceeding and the process involved in justice delivery. As a result, the trust increases, and issues of double standards associated with international fields of justice reduce. The feeling that international bodies undermine sovereignty and democracy of independent countries by charging and arresting their leaders reduce when the countries get the chance to undertake the activity in accordance with the international provisions of justice.
Letter to John Kerry the United States Secretary of State
REF: The Development of the Extraordinary African Chamber
The case that the extraordinary African chambers handle is very important in the delivery of justice to the atrocities committed between 1982 and 1990 in Chad. The development of the chambers transpired due to the need to provide justice to victims of the crimes that the perpetrators committed during the period. The establishment of the chambers receives backing from the African Union and abides by the international standards defined by the government of Senegal. The purpose of establishing the chambers was to ensure that the individuals, who executed crimes such as torture, war, and genocide, receive the required sentences and jail terms in accordance with the provisions of international justice.
To affirm the significance of the case that the extraordinary African chambers undertake, the Africa Union decided that it should operate according to the provisions of international justice. Therefore, the chamber plays a significant role in solving the atrocities executed by the leaders, who killed, exterminated, or raped individuals during the period of 1982 to 1990. The need to bring the perpetrators to book took place because the victims suffered.
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It is imperative to highlight that the only way to heal the wounds in the hearts of the victims is to ensure that they get the right system of redress for their grievances. Another factor that substantiates the importance of the case handled by the chamber is the justice and compensation on the victims of the mass destruction of property and imprisonment that they experienced during 1982 and 1990 in Chad. The Senegalese government acquired the mandate to undertake the required measures of justice delivery and ensure that the perpetrators and the victims receive impartial treatment.
To ensure that the chamber exercised its duties effectively, its structure and organization followed a professional design. The chamber has four main subsections, which facilitate the different roles that the chamber administers to the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes. The chambers include the investigating, indicting, trial and the appeal chambers.
Notably, three of the four chambers that make up the extraordinary African chamber are in Dakar court of appeal. The location of the three chambers of the court in one site is very instrumental in smooth and efficient running of the duties that the chamber performs. The smooth running of the chamber’s daily operations enables the victims receive their right system of compensation and redress, while ensuring that the perpetrators of the crimes are charged and sentenced according to the international standards of justice.
The judges working in the chambers are professionals, who have the required competences and expertise in the field of law and on aspects regarding international law. As a result, the victims and the perpetrators receive the rightful treatment. By specializing in investigative, trial, appeal, and indicting chambers, the judges enhance their efficiency.
Specialization is very important as it helps the judges and the experts working in the chambers undertake their roles professionally and deliver justice accordingly. Significantly, the choice and selection of the judges focused not only on the competences of the individuals, but also on their characters and personalities. A combination of the character and competencies of the individuals increases the professional nature of the individuals selected, and thus, justice delivery becomes successful.
Significance of the chamber
The role of chamber in addressing the challenges faced by the victims of atrocities executed in 1982 and 1990 in Chad is important. The chamber incorporates democracy and uses it to encourage the victims to present their grievances so that it helps them receive the desired justice. Through the aspect of democracy adopted by the chamber, victims of the atrocities can form groups and present their grievances to the chamber.
Moreover, the chamber plays an important role in providing the necessary protection to the witnesses, who give testimonies regarding the atrocities committed during the period. The democracy and liberty that the chamber provides makes it a very important chamber in the delivery of justice that meets international and professional standards. One of the core objectives of the chamber is to ensure that the victims, who suffered from the atrocities directed at them, receive fair and impartial justice, while the perpetrators are charged and sentenced accordingly.
Another aspect that makes the chamber important and necessary in the fight for justice is its role in ensuring that the victims receive the right justice and fair compensation. To substantiate its commitment to fair compensation and justice for the victims, the chamber established a trust fund that helps the victims and beneficiaries.
Governments, non-governmental organizations, foreign institutions, and voluntary organizations provide grants and donations. Through the donations and grants, the organization is able to support the victims of the 1982 and 1990 atrocities and help them move on with their lives. The policies adopted by the chamber reflect its nature and intention to maintain international standards in the delivery of justice.
All the operations of the chamber are running smoothly and effectively and the judges are ensuring that the perpetrators and the victims receive fair and just treatment. In the course of justice delivery, the main undertakings of the chamber include fair treatment and compensation of the victims, as well as imprisonment of the perpetrators, who executed the criminal activities. Significantly, the chamber focus is about the atrocities performed in Chad during the period of 1982 until 1990.
However, the chamber has experienced a financial challenge, which acts as an impediment to the achievement of its operations. Therefore, the chamber requests for a donation of US$1 million from the United States. The request aims at raising the US$3 million required by the chamber to continue with its operations and successfully ensure that it executes justice efficiently. Presumably, the US$3 million will facilitate the chamber operations that include trial and appeal so that the chamber delivers justice accordingly.
Negotiating the transition to peace
Advantages and Drawbacks
Some of the potential advantages of prosecution include justice to the victims of atrocities and fair compensation. Evidently, prosecution helps the victims of atrocities such as those victims of criminal acts performed in Chad during the period of 1982 until 1990. Prosecution enables the victims to present their grievances and receive justice. When the prosecution has established that crimes against humanity happened, it can order perpetrators to compensate the victims accordingly. Through compensation, victims obtain a relief of the crimes committed against them.
Although the prosecution has advantages, which include justice and fair compensation, it has drawbacks such as continued violence, disrupted peace, and continued adversity in the respective countries. By prosecuting the leaders and other individuals involved in criminal activities, the courts do not completely solve the problem, but increase the levels of insecurity that the nations subsequently experience.
When the courts prosecute perpetrators of criminal activities, individuals, who are the followers of the prosecuted become dissatisfied, and thus, engage in a number of criminal acts like murder and violence. Therefore, the prosecution of individuals involved in criminal acts plunges a nation into a state of violence and instability involving followers of the prosecuted leaders and those, who support prosecution.
Libya, Egypt, and Iraq are some of the examples that clearly elucidate the effect that the prosecution has on the state of a nation and its stability. The repercussions of prosecution are often challenging for individuals can start aligning themselves in camps of those in favor of the prosecuted and those, who support prosecution. Hence, the drawbacks of prosecution are very detrimental as they affect the transition of affected nations into peace.
Amnesty is an option
Amnesty for alleged perpetrators of massive crimes against humanity is an option. The cause of massive atrocities is a complex issue that emanates from political, racial, and ethnic issues, which mere prosecution cannot address. Prosecution process mainly focuses on punishing the perpetrators and seeking justice for the victims, while amnesty aims to create peace and unity in the society. Peace and unity are basic outcomes of amnesty, which TRC aims to achieve.
The drawbacks of prosecution highlight the need of amnesty for the sake of peace and reconciliation among warring communities and factions. The course of prosecution ignores the essence of peace and reconciliation because it aims at apportioning blame to main perpetrators, but it leaves political, racial, and ethical issues unaddressed. In various jurisdictions like Chile, Rwanda, Libya, Iraq, and Egypt, the use of prosecution as a way of achieving justice has not been effective as warring factions continue to fight and cause further crimes against humanity.
The establishment of truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) in various jurisdictions underpins the importance of amnesty in reconciling warring communities or societies. The South African TRC examined crimes of apartheid and recommended for the reconciliation of different races in South Africa to avert the occurrence of further crimes against humanity in the form of retaliation. If the prosecution of the perpetrators occurs without reconciliation of the fighting groups, peace and unity will not flourish, and thus creates a volatile ground for violence.
Comparatively, Chilean National Commission on TRC assessed crimes against humanity and recommended that the media, churches, and the judiciary should cooperate in the transitioning process of truth, justice, and reconciliation. This commission also underscores the essence of amnesty in creating harmonious society, where peace and unity exist. Although TRC pursues justice for the victims and perpetrators of crimes against humanity, it still recognizes amnesty as an option because it creates peace and unity among warring groups.
Key elements of a transitional justice program
When societies experience massive atrocities and violations against human rights, they require transitional justice to transform their lives from adversity to peace. The application of the transitional justice program provides justice to victims and promotes reconciliation, peace, and democracy among parties involved. Therefore, the key elements of the transitional justice program are criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparation programs, gender justice, security systems, and memorial centers. Each of the aforementioned key elements of transitional justice has its own unique role in restoring peace and reconciliation among the victims.
As the first element, criminal prosecutions focus on investigations and identification of the main perpetrators with a view of prosecuting them. The prosecution of the main perpetrators enables the victims to achieve justice for the crimes committed against them. Moreover, criminal prosecutions of main perpetrators act deterrence to the minor perpetrators, and thus, prevent them from committing additional crimes.
The second element is the truth commissions, which have the mandate of establishing causes of human atrocities and provide viable solutions in the form of recommendations. Truth commissions usually undertake independent investigations with the objective of providing insights of atrocities in the form of reports and preventing their occurrence. Since truth commissions have the authority of the state, they have powers to summon individuals and interrogate them appropriately.
The third element is reparation programs, which aims to compensate victims of crimes against humanity. Reparation programs are essentially government-sponsored programs that help to restore structural and moral damages during and after the war. The fourth element is gender justice for it seeks justice for women abused sexually or endured gender-based violence.
The element of gender justice recognizes women are vulnerable to crimes against humanity. The fifth element is the security system reform as it seeks to transform police, judiciary, military, and other institutions from beings instruments of repression into instruments that protect the interests of the public and offer appropriate services. As the sixth element, the establishment of memorial centers aims to elevate moral consciousness about past crimes and atrocities to make nostalgic memories that make people shun future aggression.