Human Rights Watch Criticizes ICC

Posted September 15th, 2011 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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Human Rights Watch is urging the International Criminal Court to do more to live up to its standards of independence and impartiality.

In the 50-page report released Thursday, the human rights watchdog reviews the first five investigations undertaken by the ICC since its inception in 2002.

The report says the international tribunal has often “bypassed key perpetrators and war crimes.”

Specifically, the report says ICC investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda have not resulted in charges against government officials allegedly responsible for commiting rights abuses. It says this has “undermined perceptions of the court's independence and impartiality.”

The report also complained that the ICC has targeted only one senior government leader for prosecution during its investigations in the Central African Republic and of alleged Sudanese government atrocities in Darfur.

However, Human Rights Watch spoke positively of the ICC's recent investigation in Kenya. Earlier this month, the ICC opened hearings against three of six prominent Kenyan politicians and businessmen accused of orchestrating deadly post-election violence in 2007. The report said the Kenyan investigation represents a “welcome shift from past practice.”

The rights group also spoke negatively of the court's investigation in the Congo, saying “delays and discrepancies” in the case may have “worsened ethnic tension.”

The International Criminal Court was founded in order to prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The ICC has so far undertaken investigations in Central African Republic, Sudan's region of Darfur, Kenya, northern Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also has a pending investigation in the Ivory Coast.

Earlier this year, the court opened an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the government of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.