J. Peter Pham in The New York Times on Charles Taylor's conviction A special tribunal in The Hague convicted Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, of crimes against humanity on Thursday. "[T]he trial — with its limited scope — didn't even begin to address the devastating damage Mr. Taylor did to his country. Though it is just, the conviction, with sentencing next month, demonstrates the severe limitations of an international justice system that is insufficient to deter future atrocities," Pham writes. Taylor was tried for supporting rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone, leaving aside his actions during the civil war he fought and his time in power. Pham details his atrocities, and notes that the limited trial leaves many of his surrogates untouched. "[I]t is important to convict and imprison those most responsible for atrocities, Mr. Taylor’s brutal allies were allowed to escape because the bulk of judicial resources and political will were spent pursuing him."
Stephen L. Carter in Bloomberg View on selling public assets Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner made a public and controversial decision to nationalize a private oil company, bucking a worldwide trend that sees most governments looking to sell off, not acquire, assets. "The question to ask is which of the many assets that private investors might want should remain in public hands. In the U.S., alas, we seem to be getting the answer exactly wrong," Carter argues. He details several instances where the public has protested government attempts to lease out highways. Roads, he says, could be much better served in private hands ruled by market forces than in public ones, where they have long been deteriorating and bleeding money. "It is difficult to understand, in an era when nearly all the traditional state monopolies have collapsed, our affection for publicly operated highways."