THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Ten years ago the treaty that created the International Criminal Court came into force, creating the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.
But as the anniversary is marked Sunday, allegations of state-sponsored atrocities in Syria are piling up and the court stands powerless to intervene, while the first person it indicted, Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, is still at large and his brutal militia, the Lord’s Resistance Army, continues its reign of terror.
The court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, came into force July 1, 2002. It says the Hague-based tribunal is “determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators” of atrocities.
Ad hoc tribunals set up to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in individual conflicts such as the wars in the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone have succeeded in putting on trial the most senior political and military leaders — from Radovan Karadzic to Charles Taylor. But the permanent ICC has so far started just three trials and convicted only one person, Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga. — AP