The Age of Impunity - And How to Fight It

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted May 22, 2021 | Foreign Affairs, David Miliband

The rise of impunity - the capacity of actors to commit crimes without facing justice - has killed an average of 37,000 civilians in conflict each year between 2016 and 2020. In this article for Foreign Affairs, David Miliband calls for a countervailing power in international relations to build up systems and cultures of accountability that can counteract those of impunity. The response must be multisectoral. As it took government power, private-sector resources, and civil society pressure to pass the Arms Trade Treaty or to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, it will take all these elements to reverse the trend toward impunity. He suggests that new laws will not be necessary. Existing rules and norms in the UN Charter and associated documents are sufficient but need to be upheld and implemented.


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