David Bosco

When the Blue Helmets Are to Blame

International peacekeepers -- like the ones who stood by in Srebrenica -- could soon be held accountable for their actions.

What happens when international peacekeepers turn their backs on people seeking protection? Recently, a Dutch court decided that a government can be held legally responsible for the failures of peacekeeping troops it has sent abroad. For victims' families, the ruling is an important victory, one that not only identifies the peacekeepers' failures but paves the way for compensation. For countries that dispatch peacekeepers to crisis zones around the world, however, the decision could be a worrisome precedent.

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Is the ICC Investigating Crimes by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan?

A warm relationship between the Obama administration and the International Criminal Court is in danger over new inquiries about U.S. detainee abuse.

Last spring, U.S. officials got a rude surprise from the Netherlands. It came in the form of a letter from Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The subject was Afghanistan, and the letter described evidence that U.S. personnel had abused more than two dozen detainees held in that country, mostly between 2003 and 2006. The prosecutor invited the U.S. government to provide information to the court about those cases and its broader detention practices in Afghanistan.

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Threat of Justice

Israel fears prosecution in The Hague, and the Palestinians know it. But does the world’s war crimes court want to get involved?

At the beginning of April, Palestine submitted applications to join more than a dozen international organizations and treaties. The move was a calibrated step in Palestine's elaborate dance toward recognition as a fully sovereign state. The bid provoked all the expected responses: The Palestinians' backers applauded the move, while Israeli and American officials argued that "unilateral" steps toward recognition were provocative without a comprehensive peace deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned "the Palestinians will get a state only though direct negotiations, and not through empty declarations."

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Pot, Meet Kettle

While Washington was bashing Russia at the U.N. for violating international law, it was facing similar criticisms of its own legal record.

At the United Nations this week, senior U.S. officials have been blasting Russian officials for disregarding established international law and rules by manhandling Ukrainian territory. In Geneva, with much less public attention, U.S. officials have been on the receiving end of accusations that it, too, is circumventing international law.

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Cool Ties

From Libya to Syria, the inside story of how the Obama administration went from supporting to sidelining international justice.

On March 19, 2011, as Western warplanes began pummeling Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces in Libya, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague were preparing their own offensive. With the aid of communications intercepts and testimony from defectors, they raced to investigate attacks by the Libyan regime on demonstrators and political opponents.

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