Friday, November 24, 2006

International Justice

This sounds like a bonehead decision. A French Court decided that it wanted to try Rwanda's President Paul Kagame for the 1994 assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana. This assassination was used by Hutu radicals to spark the genocide which killed 800,000 Rwandans (Yahoo News).

It would have been great a dozen years ago if international forces were willing to try Kagame for the assassination. If the international community, during Clinton's administration, was willing to do more than take bribes for Saddam Hussein, we might have been able to stop both the genocides in Rwanda and the genocides in Iraq.

The assassination of Habyarimana was a horrible thing. However, the world owes Kagame a debt for not reciprocating the Hutu genocide of Tutsis with a Tutsi genocide of Hutu. Rwanda is a country where everyone one (including the international community) has blood on its hands. As much as Kagame's acts demand justice, we really are left in a spot where administering the justice will destabilize the region.

This is the same bad thinking that led Bush to invade Iraq. There were plenty of reasons to invade Iraq in the Clinton administration. Bush's effort to administer justice to Saddam Hussein for the genocide that occurred during Clinton's watch has so far only led to instability.

In international affairs the timing of efforts to enforce justice is far more important than the administration of justice. Had the ICC been place to try Kagame before the genocide, we may have prevented the genocide. The post genocidal world is one where everyone's hands are bloody and courts seeking justice tend to hinder efforts at rebuilding. Kagame did not reciprocate the genocide. Yes, the EU may be embarrassed that they cut and run in Rwanda and hundreds of thousands of people died as a result. The problem is that there is never any clear way for humans to administer justice decades after an event. Efforts to do so generally leads to Balkanization where each faction remembers centuries of wrongs committed against them, but fails to see the atrocities committed on their behalf.

1 comment:

y-intercept said...

The guy is a brutal dictator. The question is about timing just as Saddam Hussein was a bad character. The question is about timing. The international political front needs to be about stopping genocides first then redressing past wrongs second.

I am not sure if I buy into the conspiracy ideas mentioned. I think our modern self destructive politics is driven more by idiocy than conspiracy.