Written by Libby YE of Inkling for UWCSEA MUN.
The HICC is a MUN event simulating the International Criminal Court, an intergovernmental organization with the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.
The Hypothetical International Criminal Court at MUN@UWCSEA 2019’s first accused individual is Winston Churchill, the internationally perceived war hero who led Britain to success in World War II.
So why are we dedicating a whole committee to trial a single individual? To spend 10 hours of the most advanced delegates to either prosecute or defend him? Turns out, probing into the “criminal side” of these perceived heroes might be just as important as coming up with consensus resolutions on global issues.
President of HICC, Philippe Demptos, explains that “heroism and crimes can go hand in hand in the sense that you can be a hero for some things, but a criminal for others.” He urges us to look past the hero narrative, and also “get the criminal narrative, which is what we are trying to achieve in this coming three days.”
So how are political leaders from more than half a century ago still relevant to our world today?
“We have Donald Trump, we have Robert Mugabe. We are confronted with so many unconventional world leaders with disputable means and contestable motives, yet can be overridden by noble intentions and good outcomes.” Judge Sahai elaborates, “In a sense, Winston Churchill is just a reflection of these people, one of the significant figures in this constant repetition of history and society.” He is merely an example, an illustration that humans don’t necessarily fit cleanly into the moulds of good and bad, criminal and victim, hero and villain. Rather, the “goods and bads” of our actions should be judged and cross-examined by an entangled and overlapping web of grey scales, to be considered with regards to their intentions and constants of their predicaments.
So why should teens question our perceived “heroes?”
Judge Latifi shows his perspective by saying how it is especially important for teens now, in a time of rapid technological advancement when unreliable sources from social media is ever more pervasive in our daily lives, to investigate both the positive and negative sides of famous people, to “learn how to analyse what’s true and what’s false,” and to not “blindly believe in everything popular media says.”
Vice President Aashna Singh further elaborates that we need to remember how “no one is infallible, and that anyone can be tried for any crimes they commit, regardless of their status or importance, thus giving teens an equalising sense.”
History was written by the winners, the individuals accused in HICC. Our society is being shaped in such a way, that we only see their so called positive sides, the sides in which the society have saviored, glorified, and preserved. As Judge Sahai elaborates, “the detriment they have caused the minority of societies are often hidden. The only way we can truly investigate and determine the reality of our society and history is by probing into these deep questions, trying to figure out who’s responsible for what and create a system of accountability where we can determine the truth.”
We, as teenagers, are now the basis of society, and it is important for the foundations in itself, to be aware of the truth of history and society.
Inkling is UWCSEA East's Literary Magazine. It is a student-led publication that aims to showcase the diversity and creativity of our school through its output.
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