Friday, June 15, 2012

Peace versus justice

The NY Times has an article (Peace Must Not Be the Victim of International Justice) by Ian Paisley jr. in hwich he worries about how the quest for justice hinders peace. He notices:

If the I.C.C. had been in existence during the Northern Ireland peace process, or in 1995, when South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission began its work, there would no doubt have been calls for it to intervene and prosecute those accused of violence. This would have driven old enemies even further apart in recrimination and hostility, hobbling the chance for peace.

I am not making an argument against I.C.C.’s existence: In places where there is no functioning government, or the government is hostage to one section of society, or where there is no viable reconciliation process, the international community has a duty to ensure that the court is the guardian of justice.

But the pursuit of justice should not replace or undermine ongoing national reconciliation efforts. The foremost challenge facing the I.C.C. is to determine whether its intervention will help or hinder the cause of peace. The wheels of justice must be allowed to turn at their own pace, but that they must not impede the peace process.

He goes on to notice that the Kenyan government is now trying to get the head of the opposition indicted by the ICC and that that is definitely not the way to solve what in essence is a tribal conflict.

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