David Scheffer

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El 24 de marzo, el Tribunal Penal Internacional para la ex Yugoslavia (TPIY) sentenció a Radovan Karadžić (líder político de los serbobosnios durante la guerra de los noventa en los Balcanes) a 40 años de prisión por genocidio, crímenes contra la humanidad y crímenes de guerra. La sentencia influirá profundamente en el derecho internacional, disuadirá a otros de cometer atrocidades similares y abrirá la posibilidad de una reconciliación política en Bosnia. Los líderes que infringen las normas del derecho (como los de Siria, Sudán, Sudán del Sur, Rusia y Estado Islámico) acaban de recibir un recordatorio de que no pueden escapar a la justicia internacional.…  Seguir leyendo »

Justice may appear to be the least likely survivor of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, but history teaches us that investigations and prosecutions of atrocities like those sweeping through these nations can still be achieved despite political obstacles.

Granted, justice stood still in the U.N. Security Council in late May when Russia and China vetoed a resolution referring to the International Criminal Court the atrocity crimes that have been tearing Syria asunder since March 2011.

But the cruelty in Syria continues to mount. An estimated 160,000 citizens have died and half a million civilians have been wounded, with tens of thousands constantly subjected to shelling and bombings.…  Seguir leyendo »

After months of riveting testimony, a war crimes tribunal in Cambodia is struggling to continue its own Nuremberg-style trial of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary.

It is inconceivable that the international community would imperil this historic trial midstream and undermine justice for the estimated 1.7 million Cambodians who perished under Pol Pot’s rule from 1975 to 1979.

The survivors have not forgotten what they endured. An astounding 150,000 Cambodians have visited the trials of the tribunal in Phnom Penh — a number that exceeds the public spectators of all of the other war-crimes tribunals combined.…  Seguir leyendo »

Justice will be a long time coming in Syria, but it can begin with a Security Council referral of the situation in that wounded country to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation and, ultimately, prosecution. The obstacles are serious, but the goal is imperative.

This week, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé called for such a referral to the ICC during a session of the UN Human Rights Council that sharply attacked the Syrian regime for its deadly assaults on civilians in Homs and elsewhere in Syria. A report by UN legal experts found that crimes against humanity are being waged by Syrian forces against civilians under the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Thursday evening the United Nations Security Council hit the right target when it authorized a no-fly zone over Libya, as well as "all necessary measures" against loyalist forces of Moammar Kadafi. With the tide recently turning against the rebellion, the no-fly zone and airstrikes against advancing armor and troops are needed more than ever to protect millions of Libyan civilians and help deter the atrocities certain to follow any victory or further brutal attacks by Kadafi's soldiers and mercenaries.

The debate over whether to deny Kadafi the use of his warplanes and helicopters, which delayed action for weeks, centered on how to ensure that such an initiative ultimately would help defeat Kadafi.…  Seguir leyendo »

Not since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals of World War II has any political or military leader stood trial before an international court for the crime of aggression.

Those days of impunity are coming to an end. Following years of talks and two weeks of intensive negotiations in Kampala last month, diplomats and international lawyers from almost 100 nations have agreed to empower the International Criminal Court to prosecute the authors of aggression.

I waited 17 years for this moment to arrive. As a Clinton administration lawyer in 1993, I wrote my first memorandum on the merits of criminalizing aggression for prosecution by a permanent international criminal court.…  Seguir leyendo »