Sunday, March 31, 2013


Easter for me is less about egg hunts or what is for dinner.
Easter for me is about a man - a King - who gave of His All for mankind
Today i remember all of those who have given me a helping shoulder, a walking stick, a slice of bread, a listening ear, a warm hug, a roof over my head

Today i remember the doors shut in my face and the gates opened for me
Easter for me is about all of you friends (and foes -if any exist)
The un-thanked and the thanking
The uncouth and the humble
All who have made me - me
I thank you all for being you-
The King needed the drink of water
He needed the whip on his back
So do I

Easter for me!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Re-Thinking the Principle of Complementarity in the Rome Statute: A Short Note

By D.R.Ruhweza[1]

The principle of complimentarity is one of the ways in which the ICC determines admissibility of cases before it.[2] In essence, the Court is not supposed to proceed if the case ‘is being addressed by the domestic jurisdiction.’’[3]  In this regard, the former ICC prosecutor Ocampo noted that “[R]ather than competing with national systems for jurisdiction, we will encourage national proceedings wherever possible.”[4]

Whereas the purpose of complementarity is to help fight against impunity by working closely with national jurisdictions, it is very difficult to answer with certainty that such a purpose has achieved in the situations before the Court to date. The situations before the Court have shown that both the accused and the accuser are culpable in one way or another. It is arguably one of the reasons why the practice of soliciting for self referrals is inherently problematic. In many of these conflicts, there is real difficulty in avoiding victor’s justice or in ignoring the hand of foreign players. [5]  

Whereas it is appreciated that the scope of international criminal law is limited to specific crimes, if at all the OTP is to achieve justice for victims, it would do well to investigate the ‘thing behind the thing.’ The reluctance to investigate the role played by the Government of Uganda, as well as the problems which arose from the recently concluded trials of Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor[6] as well as the current trial of Jean Pierre Bemba are very crucial examples here.

Referring to the situation in Uganda, former ICC Prosecutor Ocampo opined that Joseph Kony committed most of the crimes in northern Uganda.  However, the Appeals Chamber in Lubanga  found this conditionality insignificant.[7]  The Appeals chamber held that the requirement for gravity in the form of ‘a systematic or large scale’ conduct which the Pre-Trial Chamber labelled ‘social alarm’ blurred the distinction between the jurisdictional requirements for war crimes and crimes against humanity.’ [8] Court instead restated that ‘the subjective criterion of social alarm therefore is not a consideration that is necessarily appropriate for the determination of the admissibility of a case.’[9]  Therefore, the OTP cannot rely solely on the ground of gravity as the reason for not engaging in positive complementarity. It can therefore be argued that many of the criticisms against Ocampo’s work would actually be dealt a natural blow if he had instead pursued this policy of positive complementarity because it would lessen the number of cases which the Court had to deal with and allow it to only concentrate on those situations (like Kenya) where the national jurisdictions had genuinely failed to proceed not merely because they said so.

It is also important to notice that the victor of a conflict like Ivory Coast or Libya (with the exception of Kenya) tends to take the upper hand in determining its own form of justice which normally involves the removal of the opponent from the territory of conflict through the self referral system. The resultant effect, as the current situation in Cote d’Ivoire shows, is that any attempts for transitional justice and reconciliation are curtailed, in effect keeping the embers burning for the next violent uprising. Thus, the prosecution strategy should be one that captures these nuances and lays the ground for ensuring that transitional justice is also promoted. This can only be done with the OTP pushing back to its original position on positive complementarity.[10]  That would be the appropriate practice of complementarity envisaged by the drafters of the Statute.  

The above probably begs the question - How   will positive complimentarity encourage the state that is in power to bring its self to account? Once there are systems in place within the jurisdiction of the countries, gravity can easily be determined and or assessed. It makes it more and more difficult for one sided 'justice' to occur and as Uganda often says, its errant soldiers are brought to book through its own laws and procedures. This is the similar situation in the USA which says it does not need the intervention of the ICC because it has its own mechanisms of dealing with impunity. Similarly, Libya has indicated that it is able to try both Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam as well as Muammar Gaddafi's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi.[11] The ICC should be seen to encourage more of these attempts by the States Parties and not discourage them.


[1] PHD Candidate at University of Kent at Canterbury, Associate Lecturer School of Law Makerere University ., Attorney at Law, Uganda.

[2] The other principle is gravity and the third is  ne bis in idem which seeks to protect a person from being tried before the ICC for conduct which has already been tried by the Court itself or by other courts in previous proceedings

[3]Complementarity is laid down in paragraph 10 of the Preamble as well as in Article 1, 15, 17, 18 and 19 of the Statute.

[4] Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the ICC, Statement of the Prosecutor to the Diplomatic Corps (Feb. 12, 2004), available at

[5]  Lubanga (ICC-01/04-01/06-8, Decision on the Prosecutor’s Application for a Warrant of Arrest, 10 February 2006, paras. 42 -60. See ‘First Verdict at the International Criminal Court: The case of the Prosecutor vs. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.,  Questions and Answers., February 2012 available at

I. last accessed June 17, 2012. This was the case of Lubanga who was given sanctuary by Uganda, the case of Bemba aiding the conflict in CAR, the case of Bashir and Gaddaffi aiding the conflicts in Uganda and CAR respectively.

[6] For the Charles Taylor Trial, see last accessed June 17, 2012. For the Jean Pierre Bemba trial see last accessed June 17, 2012

[7]  Lubanga (ICC-01/04-01/06-8, Decision on the Prosecutor’s Application for a Warrant of Arrest, 10 February 2006, paras. 42 -60.

[8] Situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (ICC -01/04), Judgement on the Prosecutor’s Appeal Against the Decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I Entitled ‘Decision on the Prosecutor’s Application for Warrant of Arrest, Article 58’, 13 July 2006, para. 70.

[9]  Id, para. 72

[10] This is where national governments are encouraged to undertake their own investigations and prosecutions of crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction. See Christopher Keith Hall., ‘The Powers and Role of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Global Fight Against Impunity, 17 Leiden J. INT’L L. 121, 135-36 (2004). Cited in W. W. Burke-White, ‘Proactive Complementarity: The International Criminal Court and National Courts in the Rome System of International Justice’ (2008) 49 Harvard International Law Journal  54

[11] See Hadeel Al Shalchi, ‘Libya says can try Gaddafi spy chief’ available at last accessed February 15, 2013. See also Vivienne Walt, ‘Why Libya—and Not The Hague—Will Try Gaddafi’s Son’, available at last accessed February 15, 2013.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Lessons to Self

I was kindly cajoled from my work desk to watch the football match between Manchester United and Real Madrid. 

It was a good game as expected and a sad loss for those of us who are Manchester United fans. I listened to the comments thereafter and instead of engaging into merely the usual postmortem of blame allocation, i decided to turn my loss into some sort of gain by inquiring in to what  lessons i had learnt about the game and about fair play generally -

Here are the six ''Lessons-to-Self''
1. Be respectful in victory#Ronaldo. 

Ronaldo scored the second (painful i admit) goal against his former team ManU. There is something sportsmanly about a player who seeks not to rub it in after he has won. Whether it was because Ronaldo was coming back to play his former team or because he took cognisance of the fact that his fellow countryman had been given the red card is anyone's guess. I was nevertheless challenged to be cordial in victory

2. When you feel unfairly treated, express your disapproval and then shake hands and move on (and be ready for the consequences of your actions) #Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferinand's desparation was understandable, but the fact that he came back to make peace with the referee who he had seconds earlier sarcastically applauded, appealed to the 'human being' in me. His actions opened him up to  face sanctions from the UEFA although it is reported that he will not be punished.

However the Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson might not be so lucky since he was too distraught to face the media. He may face Uefa sanction for his non-appearance. Lesson to self, next time i am angry, keep away lest i say something i might regret. Ambrose Bierce is quoted as saying 'Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.'

3. Two wrongs do not make a right!!  However well you justify it#Howard Webb

In addition to justifying the red card given to Nani, some have argued that Manchester United 'deserved' the kind of treatment it received from the referee because of the ''unjust victories gained through biased decisions that have gone their way over the years.''

Whether that be true or false, my lesson is that two wrongs do not make a right.

The rules of fair play and natural justice demand that each case be decided upon its own facts. UEFA already has rules regarding appeals against Referee's decisions. I see no situation, apart from those who believe in karma, which can justify such an argument.

4. Once you have beef with a team, it blurs the authenticity of your vision (read -opinion) # Roy Keane 

 I listened to one of the commentators on ITV Roy Keane, (a former Manchester United Captain), justify the red card issued against Nani. Whereas the other commentators thought a yellow card would have been sufficient, Keane did not.

I must point out that Keane does have a right to an opinion on this -and  whether i agree or disagree with him should not matter. The rules on fairplay are available here for us to read and apply. Thus whereas i didn't agree with the referee's decision, i am sure others saw it differently.

However, watching Keane's demeanour on screen as he made his comments (Gareth Southgate looked petrified) as well as listening to his ''additional'' comments on Nani, left a sour taste in my mouth. I found those comments rather misplaced and unnecessary. Indeed a former ManU player asserted that Keane's reaction and comments were due to his unhappy departure from Manchester United. However, i digress but hopefully the point has been made.

5. Be honest 

I was impressed and also challenged by the brazen honesty of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho. Not only did he keep a gentlemanly atmosphere between him and Sir Alex Ferguson, but in his opinion, (and to my pleasure of course)  'the best team (Manchester United) lost.' He further said that he doubts whether his team would have won if Nani had remained on the pitch.

Now i must quickly add that whereas his comments bring a smile to my face, they might not necessarily be true. What astounded me though was his honesty and inspite of not being omniscient, i doubt he was bluffing. It remains anyway, his honest opinion and i respected that.

6. Last but not least, when occupying certain positions, be careful who you ''follow'' on Twitter

This is because, however honest your intentions, it might be viewed with suspicion when you make a decision.  Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir's Twitter page shows that he follows Real Madrid and their star man Cristiano Ronaldo -

Those were my lessons from the game and i thank my buddy Alex Jakana for dragging me away from my work to watch this game -

Aluta Continua!!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

What Is a Man? The Allegory of the Chariot

This is a powerful article that i picked from The Art of Manliness site. I have highlighted what  thought were stellar insights.

 By Brett & Kate McKay

What is a man? What sort of man should I be? What does it mean to live a good life? What is the best way to live and how do I attain excellence? What should I aim for, and what training and practices must I do to achieve those aims?

Such questions have been asked for thousands of years. Few men have grappled with them more, and provided keener insight to the answers, than the philosophers of ancient Greece. In particular, Plato’s vision of the tripartite nature of the soul, or psyche, as explained though the allegory of the chariot, is something I have returned to throughout my life. It furnishes an unmatched symbol of what a man is, can be, and what he must do to bridge those two points and attain andreia (manliness), arĂȘte (excellence), and finally eudaimonia (full human flourishing).

Today we will discuss that allegory and its meaning. While an understanding of the whole allegory and the pondering of it can bring great insight, the ultimate goal of this article is in fact to lay the foundation for two more posts to come in which we will uncover the nature of the one component of Plato’s vision of the soul that has almost entirely been lost to modern men: thumos.

The Allegory of the Chariot

In the Phaedrus, Plato (through his mouthpiece, Socrates) shares the allegory of the chariot to explain the tripartite nature of the human soul or psyche.

The chariot is pulled by two winged horses, one mortal and the other immortal.

The mortal horse is deformed and obstinate. Plato describes the horse as a “crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow…of a dark color, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur.”

The immortal horse, on the other hand, is noble and game, “upright and cleanly made…his color is white, and his eyes dark; he is a lover of honor and modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory; he needs no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only.”

In the driver’s seat is the charioteer, tasked with reining in these disparate steeds, guiding and harnessing them to propel the vehicle with strength and efficiency. The charioteer’s destination? The ridge of heaven, beyond which he may behold the Forms: essences of things like Beauty, Wisdom, Courage, Justice, Goodness — everlasting Truth and absolute Knowledge. These essences nourish the horses’ wings, keeping the chariot in flight.

The charioteer joins a procession of gods, led by Zeus, on this trip into the heavens. Unlike human souls, the gods have two immortal horses to pull their chariots and are able to easily soar above. Mortals, on the other hand, have a much more turbulent ride. The white horse wishes to rise, but the dark horse attempts to pull the chariot back towards the earth. As the horses pull in opposing directions, and the charioteer attempts to get them into sync, his chariot bobs above the ridge of heaven then down again, and he catches glimpses of the great beyond before sinking once more.

If the charioteer is able to behold the Forms, he gets to go on another revolution around the heavens. But if he cannot successfully pilot the chariot, the horses’ wings wither from lack of nourishment, or break off when the horses collide and attack each other, or crash into the chariots of others. The chariot then plummets to earth, the horses lose their wings, and the soul becomes embodied in human flesh. The degree to which the soul falls, and the “rank” of the mortal being it must then be embodied in is based on the amount of Truth it beheld while in the heavens. Rather like the idea of reincarnation. The degree of the fall also determines how long it takes for the horses to regrow their wings and once again take flight. Basically, the more Truth the charioteer beheld on his journey, the shallower his fall, and the easier it is for him to get up and get going again. The regrowth of the wings is hastened by the mortal soul encountering people and experiences that contain touches of divinity, and recall to his memory the Truth he beheld in his preexistence. Plato describes such moments as looking “through the glass dimly” and they hasten the soul’s return to the heavens.

Interpreting the Allegory

Plato’s allegory of the chariot can be interpreted on a number of levels – as symbolic of the path to becoming godlike, spiritual transcendence, personal progress and attainment of “Superhuman” status, or psychological health. There is much one can ponder about it. Below we delve into several of the main points.

The Tripartite Soul

The chariot, charioteer, and white and dark horses symbolize the soul, and its three main components.

The Charioteer represents man’s Reason, the dark horse his appetites, and the white horse his thumos. We’ll explore the nature of thumos in-depth next time, but for now, you can read it simply as “spiritedness.” Another way to label the three elements of soul are as the lover of wisdom (charioteer), the lover of gain (dark horse), and the lover of victory (white horse).

Aristotle described the three elements as the contemplative, hedonistic, and political, or, knowledge, pleasure, and honor.

The Greeks saw these elements of soul as physical, almost independent entities, not so much with bodies, but as real forces, like electricity that could move a man to act and think in certain ways. Each element has its own motivations and desires: reason seeks truth and knowledge, the appetites seek food, drink, sex, and material wealth, and thumos seeks glory, honor, and recognition. Plato believed reason has the highest aims, followed by thumos, and then the appetites. But each soul force, if properly harnessed and employed, can help a man become eudaimon.

Reason’s job, with the aid of thumos, is to discern the best aims to pursue, and then train his “horses” to work together towards those aims. As the charioteer, he must have vision and purpose – he must know where he is going — and he must understand the nature and desires of his two horses if he wishes to properly harness their energies. A charioteer can err by either failing to hitch one of the horses to the chariot altogether, or by failing to bridle the horse, and instead letting him run wild. In the latter case, Plato argued, “the best part [Reason] is naturally weak in a man so that it cannot govern and control the brood of beasts within him but can only serve them and can learn nothing but the ways of flattering them.”

Obtaining Harmony of Soul

The masterful charioteer does not ignore his own motivations, nor the desires of thumos and appetite, but neither does he let his two horses run wild. He lets Reason rule, takes stock of all his desires, identifies his best and truest ones – those that lead to virtue and truth — and guides his horses towards them. He does not ignore or indulge them – he harnesses them. Each horse has its strengths and weaknesses, and the white horse can lead a man into the wrong path just as the dark horse can, but when properly trained, thumos becomes the ally of the charioteer. Together, reason and thumos work to pull the appetites into sync.

Instead of having “civil war amongst them,” the deft charioteer understands each role the three forces of his soul play, and he guides them in carrying out that role without either entirely usurping their role, nor allowing them to interfere with each other. He achieves harmony amongst the elements. Thus, instead of dissipating his energies in contradictory and detrimental directions, he channels those energies towards his goals.

Achieving this harmony of soul, Plato argues, is a precursor to tackling any other endeavor of life:

“having first attained to self-mastery and beautiful order within himself, and having harmonized these three principles, the notes or intervals of three terms quite literally the lowest, the highest, and the mean, and all others there may be between them, and having linked and bound all three together and made of himself a unit, one man instead of many, self-controlled and in unison, he should then and then only turn to practice if he find aught to do either in the getting of wealth or the tendance of the body or it may be in political action or private business, in all such doings believing and naming the just and honorable action to be that which preserves and helps to produce this condition of soul.”

The foundational nature of gaining mastery over one’s soul, Plato continues,

 “is the chief reason why it should be our main concern that each of us, neglecting all other studies, should seek after and study this thing—if in any way he may be able to learn of and discover the man who will give him the ability and the knowledge to distinguish the life that is good from that which is bad, and always and everywhere to choose the best that the conditions allow.”

A man that makes this pursuit his aim, and allows it to guide all his thoughts and actions, “will gladly take part in and enjoy those which he thinks will make him a better man, but in public and private life he will shun those that may overthrow the established habit of his soul.”

Taking Flight and Progressing in Our Journey

As you’ll remember, in the allegory of the chariot, the chariot falls from the heavens when the horses do not receive adequate nourishment from the Forms, or when the horses rebel and the charioteer does a poor job of directing them. They lose their wings, and must stay on earth until they regrow – a process which is hastened by remembering what one saw before the fall.

Plato believed that discovering all truth was not a process of learning, but of remembering what one once knew. His philosophy may be interpreted literally as saying we had a preexistence before this life. But it also has meaning in a more figurative sense. We get off track in becoming the men we wish to be when we succumb to vice (being overpowered by the dark horse), and we tend to succumb to vice when we forget who we are, who we want to be, and the insights into those two pieces of knowledge we have already attained and experienced. Doing things that remind us of the truths we hold dear keeps us “in flight” and progressing with our lives.

Understanding the Dark Horse

In order to train and harness the power latent in the forces of his soul, a man must understand the nature of his “horses” and how to utilize their strengths and rein in their weaknesses.

A man’s dark horse, or appetites, are not difficult to understand; you have probably felt its primal pull towards money, sex, food, and drink many times in your life.

But despite our intimate acquaintance with our appetites, or perhaps because of it, the dark horse is not easy to properly train and make use of. Doing so requires achieving moderation, or as Aristotle would put it, finding the “golden mean” between extremes.

A man who lets his appetites run completely wild is the unabashed hedonist. He does not seek to rein in the dark horse at all, letting him pull the chariot after whichever pleasure crosses its path. This is the man who lives for nothing higher than to eat good food, get drunk, have sex, and make money. He seeks after effeminizing luxury with abandon and will do anything to get it. With no check to his behavior, the result can be a giant gut, pickled brains, massive debt, and a prison sentence for corruption.

A life wholly dedicated to the satisfaction of one’s bodily and pecuniary pleasures make man no different than the animals. Aristotle called such a life bovine, and Plato argued that the result of letting oneself be dominated by his appetites “is the ruthless enslavement of the divinest part of himself to the most despicable and godless part.” Such a man, Plato submitted, should be “deemed wretched.”

On the other end of the spectrum is the man who sees his physical desires as wholly wrong or sinful – troublesome or evil stumbling blocks on the path to spiritual purity or enlightenment. This man seeks to nullify his flesh, and cut off its cravings for pleasure entirely. This is the man who spends so much of his life thinking of sex as sinful, that he can’t turn off that association and enjoy it, even after he is married. He averts his eyes from women as living porn. Food is merely fuel. He often seems flat, sterile, and closed off to others, though often you can sense the bottled impulses bubbling beneath the surface that he’s tried so hard to deny. And because of the lack of a healthy outlet, that bubbling often becomes a toxic stew that will one day burst forth in a decidedly unhealthy way.

Plato believed that the appetites were the lowest of the forces of the soul, and that allowing the dark horse to dominate and enslave you would lead to a base, unvirtuous life far from arĂȘte and eudaimonia. Yet he also argued that the dark horse, if properly trained, imparted just as much energy to the pulling of the chariot as the white horse did. The chariot that soars highest makes use of both horses side by side. A would-be ace charioteer neither entirely indulges his dark horse nor wholly cuts him off. He harnesses and directs the energy in a positive way.

Between the two extremes of unchecked hedonism and the iron-fisted squashing of bodily appetites lies a middle way. This is the man who maintains a sense of sensuality and earthiness, who makes room for the pleasures of body and money but puts them in their proper place, who, as Dr. Robin Meyers puts it, is able to find “the virtue in the vice.” He enjoys sex thoroughly, but does so within the context of love and commitment. He enjoys good food and drink, without mindlessly engorging and imbibing. He appreciates money, and that which it can buy, but does not make acquiring it his central aim.

The dark horse, when properly trained and directed, can lead one closer, not further from the good life. Pleasures satisfied with discretion make a man happy and balanced, and keep him feeling healthy and motivated enough to tackle his higher goals. And the appetites themselves can lead directly to those loftier aims. The desire for money, when kept in balance, can lead to success, recognition, and independence. Lust, when properly directed, leads a man to love, and Plato believed that beholding one’s lover was a central path to recalling the Beauty of the Forms, and regrowing one’s wings for another trip into the heavens.

That is the nature of the dark horse – a force that can be used for both good and ill, depending on the mastery of the charioteer. It is fairly easy to grasp, if not always to live. But what of the white horse, thumos? That is another matter. There is no word in our modern language equivalent to this ancient concept. We have here rendered it “spiritedness,” but in truth it encompasses much, much more. It is to that subject we will turn next time.


You can read the entire Phaedrus online for free here. Plato/Socrates hit the subject from another angle and metaphor – that of a rational man, lion, and hydra-like beast – in Book IX of the Republic.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak