"An insightful and provocative challenge for supporters of international justice. An important book for anyone interested in human rights and in attaining justice in the wake of atrocities."
—JUSTICE RICHARD J. GOLDSTONE
First Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the
former-Yugoslavia and Rwanda
Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
"Adam Smith has written a wise, persuasive, and yet unsettling book, about how noble humanitarian intentions insulated from local culture, community, and politics often cause perverse unintended consequences. Smith writes as an expert practitioner whose life story and professional experience gives him an unassailable platform from which to analyze both the limitations of the International Criminal Court and its antecedents as models for enforcing humanitarian law and any alternative options to the current system. Anyone committed to peace and justice in the world should read this book."
Former Presidential Envoy to Sudan
Former Administrator of the US Agency for International Development
Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Walsh School of Foreign
Service at Georgetown University
Imagine a criminal justice system that achieves fewer than five convictions per year and spends more than $20 million on each one. By some measures, this would make it the least efficient prosecutorial system in recorded history. Picture the same system consistently running the risk of creating rather than deterring crimes, while holding the distinction that few victims or perpetrators believe it provides fairness, equity, or justice. For many in Rwanda, the former-Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere this is the reality of the justice that the international community has provided for them.
How did one of the bravest and most optimistic expressions of post-Cold War global power – the provision of justice to those victimized by atrocious crimes – slip into a system in which so many doubt justice is being done, a system that may well exacerbate the problems it was designed to fix?
Adam M. Smith, an international lawyer and the son of a Holocaust refugee, has worked in The Hague, the Balkans, and Africa as well as for the United Nations and the World Bank. He comprehensively examines the complex, politicized world of international criminal justice from the ground up – from the perspective of those victims and survivors in whose name justice is being provided. Smith reviews the shortcomings of the international justice system in several hot spots, including:
- the former-Yugoslavia where, in the eyes of many, a two-billion-dollar investment in international justice has backfired, leaving victims' interests unaddressed and helping to entrench radicalism;
- Sierra Leone, where the same murderous wartime factions that the international community tried to dismantle remain – in some quarters – stronger than ever;
- Rwanda, where no sectors of the post-genocide society believed "their" international tribunal would bring justice, and the court itself has left true reconciliation on the back burner;
- Sudan and Uganda, where the nascent International Criminal Court has replicated many of the problems that plagued the tribunals established for the former-Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda.
Are other options available to provide justice without the devastating side effects? Smith illustrates the viability of a counterintuitive, yet historically-tested, solution to dealing with genocide and other atrocities: placing the victims, survivors, and perpetrators at center stage and entrusting the challenging, potentially destabilizing work of war-crimes justice to the states affected by the crimes.
After Genocide is indispensable reading for voters, policymakers, and citizens, as well as lawyers, academics, and human rights activists who hope that "never again" can become more than a platitude.
FURTHER PRAISE FOR AFTER GENOCIDE:
“Adam Smith takes a complicated, politically fraught topic—the role and promise of international justice in our world today—and makes it accessible to all those who are trying to understand the paradox of proliferating international courts coexisting with an uptick in global, genocidal violence. And not only that: he humanizes the justice imperative, tying his family of Holocaust survivors to his deep need to give meaning to what is often a mere slogan, 'never again.' Smith shines a tough but fair light on some of the key traumas and debates of our time, and for that reason among many, it deserves wide and careful study by all those who care about the legacy of Nuremberg.”
—DAVID KAYE, Founding Executive Director,
International Human Rights Program Founding Director
Sanela Diana Jenkins Clinic on International Justice
UCLA School of Law
"Adam Smith has made a vital contribution to the literature on justice for mass atrocity. Too often, legal scholars and practitioners have assumed that international criminal justice is either the solution or at least an important part of the solution for societies recovering from wholesale slaughter. Smith's detailed, thoughtful and often compelling study counsels otherwise, urging closer examination and greater support for local responses. One may not agree with all of its conclusions, but this book should be required reading for those who study or engage in reckoning with mass atrocity.”
—PROF. JAMES CAVALLARO, Executive Director
Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Adam M. Smith (Bethesda, MD), who has held staff positions with the United Nations and the World Bank, advised presidential candidates, and worked at US embassies in three countries, for the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and for the legal adviser to the State Department, is currently an associate at a Washington, DC-based international law firm. He has published widely in magazines such as Forbes, the American Prospect, and the New Republic, as well as prestigious academic journals, including the Harvard International Law Journal, the Fletcher Forum, and the Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, and has a forthcoming coauthored academic text to be published by Routledge. He has been interviewed by NPR, Reuters, the Associated Press, CNN, and other media from around the world.