RealNews

World Court for Crimes of War Opens in The Hague

Fiercely opposed by the Bush administration and long awaited by other countries, a new and permanent international criminal court for dealing with dictators and war criminals formally opened today with the swearing in of its bench of 18 judges. The court’s task will be to try individuals — not nations or armies — accused of large-scale crimes against civilians. The judges, 11 men and 7 women from all over the world, will be part of what was called today the most ambitious initiative in the history of modern international law. The prosecutor, who is expected to be selected in April, can issue indictments only in cases where national courts are unwilling or unable to deal with grave atrocities, like war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The court has no jurisdiction over single abuses, but only over those that have been “systematic or widespread.” A panel of judges must approve any indictment before it can be issued. The court’s jurisdiction covers only crimes committed after July 1, 2002. Anyone can bring charges, individuals, groups, governments, and the United Nations Security Council. Full Story

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