Sudan President Omar al-Bashir Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir/Mohammed Babiker/ZumaPress

Bending Toward International Justice

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir’s detention in South Africa on a warrant from the International Criminal Court is further proof of the notion that those who commit grave crimes should be held accountable. International and hybrid courts are delivering war-crimes convictions, and national tribunals are prosecuting perpetrators of murder, torture, and rape.

NEW YORK – This week’s hurried departure by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from South Africa, where African Union heads of state were convening, has spared him arrest for now. But the Pretoria High Court order that he defied, which enforced a warrant from the International Criminal Court charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity, marks a step forward in the fight against impunity.

This July marks the 20th anniversary of the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim civilians in and around the town of Srebrenica. That atrocity helped galvanize political backing for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a precursor to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Since its formation in 1993, the ICTY, and national courts in Bosnia and Serbia, have convicted more than two dozen people for their involvement in the massacre. And trials of Ratko Mladić, the former Bosnian Serb military leader, and Radovan Karadžić, the former president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, on charges of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity are still making their way through the judicial process.

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