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The International Criminal Court is withering. The greatest threat to the untrammeled power of dictators and autocrats is being eroded as member states withdraw from the court’s jurisdiction. Those governments justify their decisions by charging that the court is biased and only prosecutes offenders from small countries. Their real complaint is that it presents a very real possibility of punishment to leaders who believe that they should go unchallenged. In other words, the ICC is doing its job and they do not like it.

The idea of an international court that would hold politicians accountable for their crimes against humanity and the peace has been floated since the end of World War I. The closest the world came to such an institution followed the conclusion of World War II when ad hoc tribunals in Tokyo and Nuremberg were convened to try the leaders of the Japanese imperial government and the Nazis, respectively, who prosecuted that war.

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