August 1, 2014

Justice for MH17

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The world wants to hold someone accountable for the 298 people killed. But determining whom to go after — and how to hold them responsible — won’t be easy. When a catastrophic event like the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 occurs, there is an understandable demand for accountability. “We will not rest until we [...]

Foxes Guarding a Hen House

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A new U.N. report reveals that peacekeepers sent to the Central African Republic took sides in the conflict Imagine that at the start of last year a group of armed men ravaged your community, killing your family and destroying your town. And picture that once they reached the capital of your country, this group installed [...]

Samantha Power in Practice

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Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is the rare political figure whose fame does not depend on the office she holds. A Problem From Hell, her 600-page indictment of the U.S. government as an essentially amoral bureaucracy that “functioned” to assure genocide went unchallenged, won her the Pulitzer Prize and a place as [...]

Seize this crisis to push South Sudan reform

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January 9, 2014 Three years ago this week, outside a makeshift polling station in Bentiu, South Sudan, I interviewed Riek Machar, vice president of the then semi-autonomous region. Machar had just cast his vote for South Sudan’s independence; I asked him what he would say to those who doubted that South Sudan, desperately underdeveloped and [...]

The ICC and Africa

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The ICC’s docket points to a serious problem – but not the one that African leaders are complaining about. This weekend, officials from 34 African nations are convening in Addis Ababa to discuss whether or not to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The problem with the Hague-based court, according to African Union (AU) Chairperson Hailemariam [...]

The Kiobel case

For more than three decades survivors of human rights abuses in foreign countries have turned to U.S. federal courts to seek justice. On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case that could make that impossible. The case pits a Nigerian widow against a multinational oil company. Esther Kiobel and others say Royal Dutch Petroleum [...]

The wonks who sold Washington on South Sudan

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(July 11, 2012) – In the mid-1980s, a small band of policy wonks began convening for lunch in the back corner of a dimly lit Italian bistro in the U.S. capital. After ordering beers, they would get down to business: how to win independence for southern Sudan, a war-torn place most American politicians had never [...]

Last Words

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Until I hit play on an old-school Walkman last month, I had forgotten that it was possible for my full name to be said with so much love. “This is for Rebecca Jane Hamilton.” My Dad’s words crawled above the whirring of the cassette. It was the first time I’d heard his voice in nearly [...]

Member countries fight over international court’s budget

NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) – The five countries that contribute the most funding to the International Criminal Court are seeking to cap the court’s budget for the third year in a row, according to diplomats involved in the negotiations. The budget negotiations are taking place in New York this week as part of the [...]

Litigation Overview: Status of same-sex marriage cases

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Nov 17 (Reuters) – California’s Supreme Court on Thursday said that the original sponsors of Proposition 8, a ballot initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage in California, can defend the initiative in court. The state court was responding to a request from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had asked whether state law authorizes the sponsors [...]