ICC puts pressure on peace

12 June 2006 by Juanita Leon

Interview with Antanas Mockus

Iconoclastic politician Antanas Mockus received only 1.2% of the votes in Columbia's presidential election on May 28, but he is well-known for his intellectual capacities. Former dean of the National University and two-term mayor of Bogota, Mockus has mobilized public opinion against the violent actions of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) guerrilla. One of his campaign themes was that "pardons were not guaranteed," because the International Criminal Court (ICC) could always step in to try these crimes. He discussed the role of the ICC in Colombia with IJT and explained why he supported it the clause for a 7-year delay before the Rome Treaty enters into force.

On several occasions during your term as mayor, you referred to the International Criminal Court. Why?

When the FARC guerrilla threatened to kill over half of the country's mayors if they did not resign their posts, I wore a bullet-proof vest with a hole in the heart for ten months, and I only took it off on the day that the Rome Statute entered into force. At that moment, I explained that I felt both elements - the vest and the International Criminal Court - were protecting my right to life to a certain degree. Like the vest, the Rome Statute also provides signals that protect civil society, as well as a message of commitment for rulers. When a bomb was placed on the Chingaza aqueduct [ed. note: in 2002, the FARC tried to cut off the water supply to the capital] I, on the one hand, reported the bomb to the Prosecutor, but also said that a mayor could well be tried for failing to protect civil society. I thought it was important to convey the message that this system of rules creates obligations for all.

During the presidential campaign, you again mentioned the ICC. What did it represent to you?

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

19 February 2007 by Laetitia Grotti

One year ago on January 6, 2006, the 17 members of Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) were closing up shop after submitting their final report to King Mohammed VI. The Moroccan truth commission had received a flood of compliments from the international community praising the recommendations in its report, especially those advocating legislative and constitutional reforms. One year later, however, the results have been rather mixed.

11 September 2006 by our correspondent in Arusha

After having tried high-ranking officers, ministers, businessmen, priests, journalists, local officials and militiamen, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is in uncharted waters. On September 11, the most famous rwandese troubadour of his generation will stand trial for genocide. 

23 October 2006 by Christine Chaumeau

China is keeping a polite distance from international criminal justice. Beijing is hardly disinterested, but China does want to make sure that these new global mechanisms are not going to infringe upon its sovereignty by delving into particularly sensitive cases such as Tibet. 

United Nations Operation in Burundi disarms rebel forces in Mbanda in February 2005 (Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Martine Perret)
03 June 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Over the last month, Burundi has hit the headlines as the president put himself forward to be elected for a controversial third term, resulting in street protests, thousands of refugees who fled instability and an attempted coup. Behind the issues of elections and constitutionalism are also those of justice following Burundi’s long-running civil war. The international community supported an intensive process of negotiation and the signing of the Arusha Accord in 2000. But in the decade and a half since, its provisions on justice have been debated though never fully implemented.

06 November 2006 by Pierre Hazan

France's attitude towards international criminal justice is marked by ambiguity. Paris subscribes to a vision of the world in which international humanitarian law is considered a way to curb violence against civilian populations, but at the same time it is wary of an unchecked judicial system that could end up prosecuting French soldiers engaged in areas where it has old and deep-rooted interests.