In Defense of International Justice

Great strides have been made in recent years in ending impunity for the perpetrators of humanity’s most terrible crimes, not least because 107 states have acceded to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. But now that progress is being threatened by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's use of violence to blackmail the world into postponing ICC action against him.

MEXICO CITY – Not long after I took office as Mexico’s foreign minister in 2001, a novel problem came across my desk. An Argentine naval officer who had resettled in Mexico under an assumed name was wanted by Spain on charges of genocide, torture, and terrorism. The officer, Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, was implicated in abuses committed in 1977 and 1978 at the notorious Naval Mechanics School in Buenos Aires. According to the Spanish indictment, Cavallo belonged to the operations unit of a group actively involved in kidnapping and torturing people whom the military regime perceived as leftist.

The question before me was whether to extradite Cavallo to Spain, a third country, to face trial for human rights abuses committed in Argentina. Signing the papers would be groundbreaking, as it would signal for the first time that suspected rights abusers might face trial anywhere in the world if justice was not likely at home.

For me, the decision was straightforward: the crimes demanded justice, and Cavallo was more likely to be held to account in Spain than in Argentina. Amnesty laws in Argentina at the time shielded him from prosecution. I signed the extradition papers.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/8PEyVqa;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.