Monday, Apr. 29 2013, Globe and Mail
Rape is a weapon of war. In the past, women were carried away as booty, along with the loser’s gold and silver reserves. Occasionally, they became the subject of great theatre, as in Euripides’s still-raw drama of grief, The Trojan Women. Over the centuries, the wartime abuse of women has been considered inevitable, and thus secondary, to the story of conflict and conflict resolution.
Since the Bosnian wars of the 1990s, sexual violence has become so widespread and brutal that world leaders have finally begun to notice. Impunity has escalated this savagery. Tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslim women were raped in a campaign of terror, but, since 1995, there have been only 40 prosecutions and 30 convictions. The United Nations estimates that, in recent years, at least 200,000 women and girls have been raped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (The details shock: In one Congolese village, 11 infants between six months and a year old were raped by soldiers.) [more]
Friday, January 25, 2013, Globe and Mail
Last week, in a desperate effort to derail Syria’s murderous civil war, the Swiss government and 55 countries from every region of the world collectively called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the crisis to the International Criminal Court. After almost two years of escalating atrocities, and the repeated failure of the international community to stop the violence, the signatories to the Swiss letter hoped that a few key criminal indictments might kick-start change. [more]
Monday, Nov. 19 2012, Globe and Mail
The tea-leaf readers were jittery during my recent visit to Beijing in the days leading up to the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China. Speculation about political reform peppered conversations, especially after a high-ranking official publicly acknowledged the need for change.
To the certain disappointment of many, the conservative-leaning lineup of top leaders announced Thursday is unlikely to meet these expectations. In fact, the status quo of surveillance, force, and repression may actually get worse, at least in the short term, as the Internet-savvy generation born in the 1990s begins to test boundaries. [more]
Erna is pleased to announce that the Persian-language edition of The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice has been published by Enteshar Publication Co.,Tehran. In addition to being made available to the general public, the book will be studied by Iranian law students. In a separate edition, students will have access to the Rome Statute, the legal treaty that underlies the workings of the ICC. [more]
Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012, Globe and Mail
Guilty as charged. There was high drama in The Hague and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday as the judges of the International Criminal Court prepared to release the tribunal’s historic first judgment. The decision was unanimous. Between September, 2002, and August, 2003, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese warlord, had enlisted or kidnapped thousands of children under the age of 15 to fight in his militia. The conflict was over mineral resources in the northern district of Ituri. It is estimated that up to 60,000 civilians were killed in the violence. [more]