‘International’ justice and the distance between The Hague and Africa

Chris Tenove has, as usual, some really great insights on justice in ‘international’ courts. This post from his blog pries on the distance between victims, the courts, and justice.

First published at Africa Portal, July 1, 2012.


I am now in The Hague, a well-ordered and pleasant city near the coast of the North Sea. For over a century, the Dutch seat of government has also been a laboratory where diplomats and lawyers and activists have worked on the rules and institutions of international justice. A bike ride around the city takes you from the neo-gothic stone Peace Palace that hosts the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, to the drab insurance company office that became the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and to the gleaming white towers of the International Criminal Court. I first came to The Hague seven years ago as a freelance journalist, to report on the trial of alleged perpetrators of genocidal acts in Srebrenica. My research on international criminal justice has taken me back several times since then, from reporting and research in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Uganda, and elsewhere. On each visit I am struck by the incredible gulf between this calm, orderly city, and the testimonies of chaos and terror and grief that fill the courtrooms of its international tribunals…READ MORE USING THIS LINK: ‘International’ justice and the distance between The Hague and Africa.

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