State im­punity is back in fash­ion

Sunday Express - - LEADER - Kofi An­nan

THE re­cently an­nounced with­drawal from the in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal court (ICC) by Bu­rundi, Gam­bia and South Africa, fol­low­ing ear­lier threats from some other African coun­tries, has cre­ated the im­pres­sion that Africa is hos­tile to the court.

Let me em­pha­sise, how­ever, that the peo­ple of Africa, and par­tic­u­larly the vic­tims of war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity, and mem­bers of those com­mu­ni­ties af­fected by geno­cide, stand by the ICC. Most of the con­ti­nent’s demo­cratic govern­ments stand by the ICC. I stand by the ICC, be­cause the most heinous crimes must not go un­pun­ished.

The mere ex­is­tence of the ICC can serve as a de­ter­rent for lead­ers tempted by vi­o­lence to shore up their regimes

As the African who opened the con­fer­ence in Rome in 1998 that led to the cre­ation of the court, I was proud that my con­ti­nent was its most en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter. Mem­o­ries of the hor­rors of the Rwan­dan geno­cide were still fresh in our minds. In fact, the first sig­na­tory of the treaty was an African coun­try: Sene­gal. Africa re­mains the sin­gle largest re­gional bloc, with 34 states party to the Rome statute out of 124. We also made the most use of the in­sti­tu­tion from the out­set: of the nine in­ves­ti­ga­tions on the African con­ti­nent, eight were re­quested by African states, six African states re­ferred their own sit­u­a­tion to the ICC, and African states voted in sup­port of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil re­fer­rals on Dar­fur and Libya.

Kenya was the only case in Africa opened in­de­pen­dently by the court, but it en­joyed the en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port of a ma­jor­ity of Kenyans. They wanted jus­tice for the 1,300 peo­ple killed and hun­dreds of thou­sands dis­placed in elec­tion-re­lated vi­o­lence.

The ICC got in­volved in these African cases be­cause na­tional au­thor­i­ties did not con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mas­sive crimes that had oc­curred. The ICC does not sup­plant na­tional ju­ris­dic­tions, it only in­ter­venes in cases where the coun­try con­cerned is ei­ther un­able or un­will­ing to try its own cit­i­zens. Africans de­serve jus­tice as much as any­one else, even if their govern­ments can­not al­ways pro­vide it.

Some re­tort that the African court on jus­tice and hu­man rights should play that role on the con­ti­nent. Its pro­to­col was adopted two years ago, but it re­mains largely un­rat­i­fied. For the time be­ing, the ICC re­mains the con­ti­nent’s most cred­i­ble court of last re­sort for the most se­ri­ous crimes.

To those who think that Africa is the sole sub­ject of in­ter­na­tional jus­tice, we should re­mind them that in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal tri­bunals were first set up af­ter the Sec­ond World War, at Nurem­berg and Tokyo. Af­ter the cold war, more in­ter­na­tional or mixed tri­bunals were set up for crimes in Le­banon, Cam­bo­dia and Yu­goslavia. Nor will in­ter­na­tional jus­tice stop in Africa. The ICC’s chief pros­e­cu­tor, Fa­tou Ben­souda, an ac­com­plished African lawyer, has opened in­ves­ti­ga­tions in Ge­or­gia and is con­duct­ing pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tions in Afghanistan, Colom­bia, Ukraine, Iraq and Pales­tine.

Fi­nally, we need to recog­nise that the mere ex­is­tence of the ICC can serve as a de­ter­rent for lead­ers tempted by vi­o­lence to shore up their regimes. Be that as it may, we should never for­get that jus­tice is its own virtue.

All this is not to say that the ICC is be­yond re­proach. Most egre­giously, the fact that only two of the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of the United Na­tions se­cu­rity coun­cil – the UK and France – are sig­na­to­ries to the Rome statute (and there­fore mem­bers of the court), opens the court up to ac­cu­sa­tions of dou­ble stan­dards. l

Mr An­nan served as sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the United Na­tions from Jan­uary 1997 to De­cem­ber 2006.

HOW would you grade your prayer life these days? Are your spir­i­tual bat­ter­ies drained? Do you need a recharge? It’s easy for prayer to be­come mo­not­o­nous and pre­dictable, but the Holy Spirit is al­ways will­ing to of­fer a jump­start. Even if you feel like a fail­ure in this area, He can turn a spir­i­tual wimp into a war­rior.

Af­ter a re­cent string of an­swered pray­ers, I’ve dis­cov­ered a fresh ex­cite­ment about my own prayer jour­ney. I’ve also re­al­ized that if I want to ma­ture spir­i­tu­ally, my prayer life must go to a higher level. Here are eight ways you can turn up the heat:


De­velop your spir­i­tual con­fi­dence. Many Chris­tians live on the far edges of God’s bless­ings be­cause they don’t be­lieve they have been made righ­teous by Christ’s sac­ri­fice. You will never ex­pect an­swers from God if you think He is mad at you.

Don’t act like a slave who begs for things. You are His heir, and He has given you His royal robe, His signet ring and His es­tate. He wants to give you the king­dom. God tells us to “draw near with con­fi­dence to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). You can ask Him for any­thing.


Be more spe­cific. Zig Ziglar used to say: “If you aim at noth­ing, you will hit it ev­ery time.” That’s why vague pray­ers are in­fe­rior to spe­cific ones. I have re­cently be­gun the habit of mak­ing a “Top Seven List” of prayer re­quests.

When I did this dur­ing my re­cent outof-state move, the Lord an­swered six of my seven re­quests within two months. One of my pray­ers was that when I bought my new house, my new house pay­ment would not be more than my old one. It turned out to be one dol­lar less! I was re­minded that James 4:2 says: “You do not have be­cause you do not ask.”


Ask big. We can limit what God wants to do in the Earth by pray­ing in a puny way. Why would we set­tle for less when God can do the im­pos­si­ble? Elisha boldly asked his men­tor, Eli­jah, for a dou­ble por­tion of the Holy Spirit — and God gave him that man­tle. God may want to dou­ble what you are re­quest­ing of Him. The Lord said: “Ask of Me, and I will give the na­tions for Your in­her­i­tance... “( Ps. 2:8). His vi­sion for your life is far greater than what you sup­posed.


Be­come more ag­gres­sive. Sta­tus quo pray­ers won’t be enough in sea­sons of spir­i­tual bat­tle. There is a time to go to war in the spirit, and this will re­quire a mil­i­tant at­ti­tude to­ward the en­emy. When Elisha told King Joash to take ar­rows and strike the ground, in prepa­ra­tion for a bat­tle, the king half­heart­edly hit the ground only three times. Elisha said: “You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram un­til you would have de­stroyed it” (2 Kings 13:18-19). Too of­ten we are sat­is­fied with small vic­to­ries be­cause we didn’t pray with enough in­ten­sity. Your zeal will of­ten de­ter­mine your out­come.


Groan when nec­es­sary. Peo­ple who have al­lowed God to use them in in­ter­ces­sion know that cer­tain sit­u­a­tions re­quire tra­vail. This is not easy prayer — it is the spir­i­tual equiv­a­lent of child­birth! When Eli­jah prayed for rain to end a sev­enyear drought, the Bible says he “crouched down upon the earth and put his face be­tween his knees” (1 Kings 18:42).

If you re­ally want a crime wave to end in your city, or a na­tion to find Je­sus, or your own chil­dren to be saved, let the

Sun­day Talk

(Eph. 3:20). That means af­ter I pray, God adds His own mirac­u­lous in­gre­di­ent.

My pray­ers may seem fee­ble and flawed, but He is able to am­plify them. Like the tiny lunch of five loaves and two fish, Je­sus can take some­thing in­signif­i­cant and feed a mul­ti­tude. When you pray, ex­pect Him to in­crease the im­pact. What you whis­per in your closet can shake the world.

J. Lee Grady was edi­tor of Charisma for 11 years be­fore he launched into full-time min­istry in 2010.


J. Lee Grady

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