The Passion of the Present points to an article by David Bosco in Foreign Policy in which he suggests that the new strategy adopted by human rights activists and some governments may not be the wisest course of action at this time. The strategy of judicial intervention calls for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to "take the lead by investigating and indicting those responsible for the atrocities". However Bosco believes that
Those clamoring for the ICC to take the lead want to establish the precedent
that atrocities will be punished. Instead, they may be handing cautious politicians
an excuse for continued inaction while unnecessarily dividing the United States
Whilst there is little evidence that the threat of prosecution is a deterrent – Balkans is proof of this as it did not stop Milosevic from ethnically cleansing the Albanians of Kosovo, there is evidence
that Western politicians use international trials as a way to dodge tough action. It was in large part because the United States and Europe couldn’t’t agree on an effective military response that they created a tribunal for the Balkans. The international court for Rwanda, too, was as much therapy for a shamed world as it was a meaningful response to that region’s continuing crisis.
Bosco’s point is that the strategy of focusing on judicial action takes the attention away from the immediate need to stop the slaughter that is continuing to take place.
If politicians can deploy pledges of support for trials to deflect pressure for intervention, the international justice campaign may actually be doing today’s victims a disservice…………..When a crisis is still unfolding, the human rights community should stay focused on generating the political and moral will to intervene effectively.
Bosco makes an excellent argument against focusing on the ICC and a judicial response but I do not see why it has to be one or the other. There is no reason why both responses cannot take place simultaneously, beginning the process of criminal investigation and prosecution of those responsible along with meaningful steps to stop the atrocities immediately. We Africans need to think carefully on what kind of "intervention" is acceptable and by whom given the horrendous crimes that are taking place. Intervention does not necessarily have to be military there are other ways of putting pressure on the Sudanese government IF there is a will to do so.