* Are all crimes against humanity treated equally?
The trial of Slobodan Milosevic has raised the prospect of many former political leaders being tried for crimes against humanity. War crimes tribunals and the international criminal courts are supposedly independent mechanisms through which we can administer international justice, and through which tyrants and errant regimes can be brought to account. But is it really that simple?
For example, although Milosevic wound up on trial at The Hague, other attempts at war crimes prosecutions -- notably Pinochet and Sharon -- face insurmountable obstacles. Despite the hopes raised about "an end to impunity", the United States is currently exempting itself entirely from the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court.
This new book by renowned scholar Michael Mandel offers the first truly critical account of the war crimes movement. Mandel argues that this movement is not actually about ending war crimes, or impunity for war crimes, but about selectively punishing "the usual suspects" as part of the imperial strategy of the great powers -- primarily the United States.
Examining issues chapter-by-chapter, Mandel explores the moral and legal debates over the recent wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, supposed exercises in "humanitarian intervention" and "self-defense." He analyzes the role the war crimes movement has played in these wars, variously promoting them or not stopping them, despite their immorality and illegality.
Mandel takes a hard look at the development of the International Criminal Court and its likely destiny. He gives special attention to recent tribunals -- like the one trying Milosevic -- and the way they have been used to prosecute America's enemies. He shows how these tribunals shield America and its allies from responsibility for what is termed "collateral damage," but what is in reality murder on a vast scale....Continua