Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics

David Bosco. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-199844-13-5
The clash of idealism and reality in international relations, and the limits of achieving justice, are well limned in Bosco’s accessible history of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Presuming no prior knowledge on the part of his readership, Bosco, a professor of international politics and law at American University’s School of International Service, traces the path from the Nuremberg war-crime trials that began in 1945 to present-day efforts to prosecute members of the Gaddafi regime. Given that the ICC is not independently funded, and that its limited human and financial resources make it dependent upon countries with differing interests, it’s not surprising that the court hasn’t achieved its goal of becoming “the world’s most serious attempt at achieving international justice.” The author does an especially fine job of outlining the United States’ evolving relationship with the tribunal, which could potentially subject U.S. leaders to criminal charges. Bosco’s conclusion—that “the ICC has been significantly constrained by major-power politics”—will surprise no one, but his measured analysis is a major contribution to the study of the issue. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 01/01/2014
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