Tuesday, November 15, 2016


A student wrote about the crime of forced prostitution (the so called 'comfort women) by the Japanese government against Korean women in WW2. "The acts of war rape that women have had to endure for the many decades is something that I think is taken too lightly.  So what I mean by that is there is usually no punishment for the crime and if so it's so minor that it doesn't make the statement of it being unacceptable.  My question  is...do you think that there is any forms of punishment that would ever satisfy such a horrible crime? "
I answered "you raise a very interesting question about how a state is punished. The problem is that sometimes, you can't punish a state without punishing its people, as we saw with the sanctions policy against Iraq 1990 to 2003. What 's left is the United Nations International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court prosecutes individuals who have committed genocide and other major war crimes. Over 120 countries support it. It's been heavily criticized. African countries point out that so far, only leaders of poor countries have been subject to trial by the ICC. Gambia will leave the ICC by 2017. Russia is upset because it's been identified as an aggressor by the ICC for its reunification with Crime through a popular referendum. And the US has simply refused to join the ICC. Analysts think it's  because the US is viewed as an aggressor nation around the world, and the US is afraid that its military leaders and soldiers might be persecuted by the ICC. Publicly, the US says it's because international law can't supersede domestic American traditions and laws."
But sometimes states can be taken to task within the human rights bodies of the United Nations or through the media. For example, the human rights attorney Karen Parker has spoken against Japan for denying compensation to the so called 'comfort women'.  See this http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/09/665_185891.html

1 comment:

  1. Good morning -

    Two things come to mind:
    In reference to punishing a state.. why do we punish? I think we punish to bring justice to the aggrieved and to discourage further misbehavior. Some kind of compensation to surviving comfort women makes sense (but how do you attach a monetary about to that!?)... but in terms of doing such a thing again, I don't have that view of Japan in its current manifestation, so, aside from compensation to the aggrieved, what would the international community be getting out of further recourse?

    Regarding the US refusal to join the ICC, I will say that we have somewhat of an elitist attitude that we take care of our own, including our mistakes. When a Soldier took sixteen innocent lives in Afghanistan, he was hauled back stateside, put on trial, and convicted. So, I ask is joining the ICC something to do for justice or is it to further globalization? I'd also like to point out that some of us remember taking the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school. For those that are bothered by this topic, please humor me for the sake of discussion. The part where it says 'One Nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.' By stating 'under God' that implies 'under no earthly power,' which is to say we answer to ourselves and no other state or other organization. I submit for your consumption, but I think our refusal is more based on sovereignty sensitivity and elitism more than being viewed as an aggressor state.