Alejandro H. Rodriguez-Giovo

Alejandro H. Rodriguez-Giovo

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The Ghost of the International Criminal Court

April 18, 2010

Some profess to be worried about how recklessly wide-ranging in its prosecutions the International Criminal Court could become.  I, and others, are increasingly concerned that its role is limited to hounding relatively small-scale, third-world scoundrels (Omar al-Bashir may be a president, but despite its vastness Sudan is a weak and isolated nation). This is singularly convenient for the world’s major powers, many of whose leaders – current or retired, going as far back as Henry Kissinger – have so much blood on their hands that all great Neptune’s ocean could not wash them clean.

The real “ghost” raised by Robert Harris’ intelligently compelling novel and Roman Polanski’s no less skilful film – in which the ICC exhilaratingly corners a former British prime minister, Adam Lang (a.k.a. Tony Blair) – is the ICC itself, which in fact haunts only the nightmares of African war-lords and petty tyrants. If the ICC’s Prosecutor, my eminent compatriot Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is prevented by realpolitik from targeting the world’s most nefarious criminals (we all know who they are), he should denounce this situation and resign in disgust, rather than help sustain a spectral ICC that brings to justice only a picturesque assortment of thugs whose principal common denominator appears to be the colour of their skin.

Published in a slightly modified form in The International Herald Tribune on April 8, 2010.  




Obama’s Political Expertise

April 11, 2009


barack-obamaHow remarkable that President Obama should state demurely, during his recent unannounced trip to Baghdad, that it’s time for Iraqis to “take responsibility for their country” (q.v. “Obama Makes Unannounced Visit to Iraq”, International Herald Tribune, April 7, 2009) – with the inescapable implication that they had begged to be invaded and sorted out (at a cost of several hundred thousand deaths and a couple of million refugees among their civilians), and that it is now high time for them to grow up and look after themselves.


It’s good to know that if ever the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, my distinguished compatriot Luis Moreno Ocampo, has the courage and determination to probe this crime against humanity, Mr. Obama would be one of the few US politicians to come up smelling of roses. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama displays a veteran demagogue’s breathtaking ability to present reality in a light that will flatter his audience (in this case, the American troops in Iraq).