Source: (2010) Ethics and International Affairs. 24(2):191-211.
In recent years efforts to hold the perpetrators of mass atrocities accountable have become increasingly normalized, and building capacity in this area has become central to the strategies of numerous advocacy groups, international organizations, and governments engaged in rebuilding and reconstructing states. (1) The indictment of sitting heads of state and rebel leaders engaged in ongoing conflicts, however, has been more exceptional than normal, but is nonetheless radically altering how we think about, debate, and practice justice) Arrest warrants for Sudanese president Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Liberian president Charles Taylor, and the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, Joseph Kony, have not only galvanized attention around the role of international justice in conflict but are fundamentally altering the terms of debate. While a principled commitment continues to underpin advocacy for justice, several court documents and high-profile reports by leading advocacy organizations stress the capacity of international justice to deliver peace, the rule of law, and stability to transitional states. (3) Such an approach presents a stark contrast to rationales for prosecution that claim that there is a moral obligation or a legal duty to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Instead, recent arguments have emphasized the instrumental purposes of justice, essentially recasting justice as a tool of peacebuilding and encouraging proponents and critics alike to evaluate justice on the basis of its effects. (excerpt)
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