November 30, 2015

When Should the ICC Call It Quits?


The close of 2014 continued to bring bleak news for civilians in Darfur. As fighting in Sudan’s beleaguered western region increased, the UN looked to reduce its peacekeeping presence there. And this on the heels of the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, telling the Council that in the absence of any commitment from them to enforce the Darfur [...]

Negotiating the Next War


Allowing rebels to leverage a cease-fire into political power will only lead to more death in the Central African Republic — as it has in South Sudan and too many other African states. For a moment last week, it looked as though the people of the Central African Republic (CAR) were getting some much-needed good news. [...]

Justice for MH17


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


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


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


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


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


(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


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 [...]