For Dictators, Only Punishment

To the Editor:

In "A World Court That Could Backfire" (Op-Ed, Jan. 15), Stephen D. Krasner argues that an international criminal court should be rejected since the threat of punishment might inhibit genocidal dictators from settling conflicts peacefully. He overlooks the fact that the pending treaty for a world criminal court confirms the right of the Security Council to halt criminal prosecutions when deemed necessary to further peace negotiations.

However imperfect in practice, deterring aggression and crimes against humanity must remain the primary goal. Permitting political considerations to immunize perpetrators shows contempt for their victims and the judicial system.

Delray Beach, Fla., Jan. 15, 2001
The writer was a Nuremberg war crimes prosecutor.