EI5: Alex Leader
End Impunity is asking five international justice advocates from around the world five “simple” questions about their personal connection to the issue and the unique perspective that their region of the world provides them.
1. Why is the issue of international justice important to you?
A world without justice is a world without progress and prosperity. We cannot expect to change the circumstances of the world’s poorest by raising their incomes alone. Safeguarding human rights is one of the surest ways out of absolute poverty, prioritizing genuine empowerment over quick fix attempts at economic development.
2. Does the region from where you are from have a particular perspective and attitude towards justice? How has this influenced you?
As an American citizen, I have been routinely disappointed with my government’s insistence on abandoning policies of justice in the name of homeland security and national interest. The global citizenry is starting to demand greater accountability from its leaders, presenting the United States with an opportunity for true leadership in championing universal rights. As a nation of remarkable power, I see it as our responsibility not to determine what is right, but to protect justice as defined by the international community.
3. What are some successes and some failures of the International Criminal Court?
This year marked the first ever conviction by the ICC, bringing Charles Taylor to some degree of justice. It is a landmark success, and hopefully one of many convictions to follow. However, because of its participatory nature, the court faces great adversity in carrying out its noble mission. There is no easy answer to bolster the ICC’s clout, but until it can do so, its successes will be limited.
4. Who are some of the perpetrators of mass crimes that you think should be indicted by the ICC? Do you think it will ever happen? Why?
Bashar al-Assad and his defense ministers ought to be next among the ICC’s indicted. The crimes perpetrated against the Syrian government against its own citizens have been a true crime against humanity. Regardless of the uprising’s outcome, those at the Hague should hasten to direct their attention towards Damascus, providing the international community with further justification for a firmer stance against Assad.
5. How can the regular citizen from around the world play a part in the fight for international justice?
By making themselves known to policymakers. Investigating injustices and demanding action is a simple, yet essential method. Pick an ongoing issue that matters to you, and make your voice heard by those with the resources and power to enact some change.
The answers do not need to be long — it’s really up to you. Could you also send us a short bio for you (and it can be as simple as a couple of lines) and if you have a picture of you you’d like us to use. If there’s a link to where you’d want us to point people to, you can include that also.
Alex Leader is a student of public policy at the University of Michigan. He represents the international development organization, Oxfam America, on campus and has been working with them for the last 2 years. Following graduation, he plans to work on agriculture in developing nations with hopes of eventually joining the foreign service. Alex has spent the summer in Boston at Oxfam America’s headquarters and blogging for End Impunity.