Slobodan Milosevic is in the dock for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. For all the delays and procedural maneuvering, his trial marks a milestone in the extraordinary development of international criminal law from Nuremberg forward. In addition to the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, tribunals composed of national and international judges are operating in East Timor and Sierra Leone and being negotiated in Cambodia. And, if all goes as planned, Saddam Hussein will soon be tried in Iraq, by his own people, for national and international crimes.
The debate over military tribunals has been largely conducted in terms of the trade-offs between national security and civil liberties. But this debate has tended to obscure an equally important issue: How does the question of where to try accused terrorists fit into the larger goals of fighting terrorism? The Bush administration has tried to prepare the public for a protracted new cold war, punctuated by occasional hot wars. New hot phases of the war on terrorism could take place in any state deemed to be supporting global terrorism--a list that might include Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, and Syria. Yet because of the nature of terrorist acts, a war on terrorism must be fought not simply against states but also against individuals.