Slavery and the limits of international criminal justice
Several years ago I had a discussion with Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein and Amb. Christian Wenaweser about why the International Criminal Court has not yet prosecuted transnational organized crime groups. The result of that conversation was an initiative to understand what role - if any - the ICC might play in addressing one particularly tragic result of contemporary organized crime: the pandemic of modern slavery.
The best available estimates suggest there are something like 46 million slaves alive today, despite the fact that the norm against slavery is, on paper, one of the strongest in international law. So why the massive enforcement gap?
In this blog, the CEO of the Freedom Fund, Nick Grono, and I lay out the results of several years of academic study and research, which produced a Special Issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice. We conclude that there are limits to the role that international criminal justice can play in fighting slavery - but also unexploited potential.
I'm thrilled to say that the ICC Prosecutor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, has recognized this. She came to the headquarters of the UN in early June to help us launch this Special Issue, and made a public commitment to use the tools available to her to fight slavery.