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"Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics" by David Bosco

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 29.3 (Fall 2015)

September 10, 2015

Detail from book cover

Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics, David Bosco (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 312 pp., $29.95 cloth.

Review by Kenneth A. Rodman

When the International Criminal Court (ICC) became operational in 2002, it was hailed by the human rights community for its ability to end impunity through the globalization of law. Conversely, it was opposed by the George W. Bush administration for its potential to criminalize the means through which the United States uses force abroad. Looking at this debate from the vantage point of 2015, neither the hopes of activists nor the fears of the U.S. government have been realized. To date, the ICC has limited its formal investigations to Africa and, further, to situations on that continent that do not impinge significantly on U.S. or other great power interests. But even in such environments the ICC has often been frustrated by domestic resistance and a lack of international support, most recently demonstrated by the suspension of its investigation in Darfur and the collapse of the trial of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

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