Megalomania in the ICC

Few outsiders know more (or write more intelligently) on Sudan than Alex de Waal. Today he eloquently rips into the ICC:

The ICC arrest warrant against President Omar al Bashir heralds a new era
for global governance and human rights. But it is not at all clear what will be
the character of this new era. Is Luis Moreno Ocampo the vanguard of the human
rights international, bringing a new dawn of justice and accountability, in
which tyrants quiver at the prospect of the fearless prosecutor, speaking for
the voiceless victims, armed only with the precious norms of universal human
rights? Or is the Prosecutor a stormtrooper for judicial neo-colonalism, kicking
down the doors of others’ hard-won independent sovereignties, brushing aside the
protests of peace mediators, to demand the unconditional surrender and
handcuffing of those without the protection of a superpower?

Let me argue that the Bashir arrest warrant is something else—a moment
of crisis in the project of building a global human rights order. The immediate
cause of this is Moreno Ocampo’s overreach. Possibly his status as a celebrity
prosecutor, feted by the Hollywood stars who have converged on the Darfur
crisis, led him astray.

Read the full post. It’s worth it.

2 thoughts on “Megalomania in the ICC

  1. “Possibly his status as a celebrity
    prosecutor, feted by the Hollywood stars who have converged on the Darfur
    crisis, led him astray.”

    Eloquent? Ad hominem is more like it.

    Ana Majnun

  2. Amen, Mr. Blattman,

    I have been arguing this very point for the last week, far less eloquently of course. Westerners, fully absorbed within their own perspective, have virtually no comprehensiopn of the extent to which UN “law” and global governance framework under the auspices of multi-lateral institutions, are modeled and built upon their conception of what the world should be.

    In the post WWII consensus, weaker, less organized “developing” nations have gone allong with this program, essentially at a state level. I dont find any convincing evidence that at the grassroots level, their is any accpetance of these supranational insitutions as bearing governing legitamacy.

    Two forces are about to collide. On the one hand the natural creep by power authorites to extend their reach. Witness, the steady expansion of the Hague’s self proclaimed mandate to investigate Human rights abuses at ever smaller granualations, within sovereign states. On the other hand, the accelerating growth of economic and political power among non-western powers towards a critical mass inflection point, that will bring direct challanges to many assumed sacred cow “settled issues” of the UN, that will come as a shock to much of the west.

    Climate change is another one of these issues for which we have yet to hear from the majority poor on their take on the trade off’s between rescource deplation, acceptable pollution, and economic growth.