Allowing these war crimes allegations to go unaddressed would undermine important international legal norms while rendering true reconciliation in the country an even more remote prospect.
Yugoslavia fell apart in stages, and violence accompanied each of these stages. To assess these crimes and determine culpability, even as the wars continued to rage, the United Nations established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993. It was the first war crimes tribunal since the end of World War II.
Time is clearly running out for the Sri Lankan government, the international community has shown that their patience is wearing thin.
At the international level, if those who promote and organize atrocities on both side of a conflict are not subject to accountability, the message of impunity to the citizens of that country undermines the establishment of a peaceful and well-functioning society.
As we form a larger and louder global alliance with survivors who are demanding justice, let us reflect on the African proverb: "A single bracelet does not jingle." On this V-Day, let's make some noise.
Our state of affairs goes against a pinnacle of American justice, equality before law, facilitating everything from war crimes, to torture, to domestic spying, to a predatory, ravenous Wall Street that feeds on the middle class with impunity.
If you ever wonder just how thin the veneer of civilization is, Generation War is a testament to the illusion of man's moral evolution.
In Bahrain, physicians remain imprisoned during the holidays simply for doing their job. Turkey is considering a bill that seeks to criminalize emergency medical care. And in Syria, the attacks against physicians have reached such epidemic proportions as to constitute war crimes, exacerbating an already massive humanitarian and human rights crisis.
Most Americans do not know that their government engaged in practices that the civilized world considers war crimes. This lack of awareness is due, in part, to the fact that a comprehensive report of over 6000 pages on this topic compiled by investigators at a cost of $40 million remains classified and hidden away.
After Ramzi Bin al Shibh four times objected in court this week to the noisiness of his prison cell at night, the judge presiding over the September 11 military commission case on Thursday ordered he undergo a mental competency examination and stalled the case.
The ripple effects of impunity for those who commit or oversee atrocities should not be underestimated. Long after guns go silent, warlords have little trouble finding ways to continue profiteering at the expense of the population.
All their outrage seems to be focused on the national and racial identities of the powerful men accused -- and none focused on the hideous crimes these men are accused of committing against powerless victims. Why aren't we hearing more voices in support of the African victims of these atrocities?
As the last four years have shown, repeated pronouncements by U.S. and numerous other officials recommending that Sri Lanka take proper action have done nothing to bring even the slightest measure of justice for the horrific crimes of 2009.
Intelligence gathering is certainly one important aspect of the counterterrorism business, but ultimately the U.S. needs to prosecute and incarcerate these individuals -- and our federal court system remains the most effective way to bring terrorists to justice.
Here is the tough thing about war crimes: at the time they are committed, they are often difficult to distinguish from the seemingly random violence occurring all around them. History, though, rarely forgives us for our lack of clarity or our desire for more details.
It is time to discuss a non-military intervention that adheres to and reinforces the rule of law as well as encourages a political solution. It is time to discuss a contingent referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court.