U.N. debates international justice system

UNITED NATIONS, April 11 (UPI) -- While states may bear the primary responsibility to prosecute international crimes, doing so is a common interest, the U.N. General Assembly heard.

The General Assembly held its first-ever debate on the role that international justice systems play in reconciliation. Assembly President Vuk Jeremic said it was up to each state government to prosecute international crimes.


"It is also our common interest," he said. "The paramount question is how international criminal justice can help reconcile former adversaries in post-conflict, transitioning societies."

Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama testified that most of the planners of the Rwanda genocides in 1994 were still on the loose. Apart from the Special Court for Sierra Leone, he said most court or tribunal systems prosecuting war crimes and other atrocities were hosted outside of the countries where the alleged abuses took place.

"International criminal justice is in a crisis with regard to fostering national reconciliation in post-conflict situations," he said.

The Chadian government has been criticized for failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted for war crimes in Darfur, during a recent visit. Kenyan voters recently elected Uhuru Kenyatta, who is accused of committing atrocities in post-election violence in 2007, as president.


Bosco Ntaganda, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo, recently turned himself in voluntarily to the International Criminal Court, however..

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