Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

US Hypocrisy on Those IKCs

by GEORGE SZAMUELY

Going by the hysterical bluster emanating from Washington about the International Criminal Court (ICC) it would seem that upstanding American “peacekeepers” selflessly policing the world are about to be arrested on frivolous charges and hauled before a court presided over by assorted witch-doctors, unreconstructed Stalinists and Osama bin Laden acolytes. The court, created in 1998 by the Rome Statute, is designed to punish crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes–acts which had hitherto fallen within the purview of national courts. Here’s a typical rant from conservative columnist Balint Vazsonyi in the Washington Times: “The wall separating the legal concepts, systems and practices in the English-speaking world from all other nations is higher and thicker than the Great Wall of China.” Writing in USA Today Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley deplored “the lack of adequate checks and balances on the powers of the ICC prosecutor and judges.” The USA has learned by bitter experience that unaccountable prosecutors constitute a danger to the rights and welfare of its citizens.”

Such sentiments would be more compelling if they did not sound so self-serving. Last November, U.S., British and French special forces presided over and directed the slaughter of about 1000 prisoners of war by the Northern Alliance at Mazar-e-Sharif. The slaughter was helped along by heavy U.S. air strikes. Recently Newsweek reported that “America’s Afghan allies asphyxiated hundreds of surrendering Taliban prisoners by transporting them in sealed cargo containers en route to a prison in Northern Afghanistan and they buried them in a mass grave.” Around a thousand people are said to have died in these containers. U.S. forces were in the region at the time, and either facilitated or did little to stop these atrocities. Had been the forces of any other power, those of Yugoslavia or Russia say, Washington would be shrieking for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. As it is, these events scarcely elicited a murmur.

Earlier this year Congress passed the American Service Members’ Protection Act. The legislation prohibits any U.S. government agency from cooperating with the ICC. It demands that “each resolution of the [U.N.] Security Council authorizing any peacekeeping operationa”permanently exempts” members of the Armed Forces of the United States participating in such operation from criminal prosecution.” No U.S. military assistance was to be “provided to the government of a country that is a party to the” ICC. In addition, the president was “authorized to use all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any [U.S. or allied persons]” being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the” ICC.

This fearless assertion of national sovereignty is claptrap and the rankest hypocrisy. The act starts off solemnly declaring that “it is a fundamental principle of international law that a treaty is binding upon its parties only and that it does not create obligations for nonparties without their consent to be bound. The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute and will not be bound by any of its terms.” That is indeed the very basis international law. Shame then that the United States has so little respect for it! In 1993, the Clinton administration pushed the U.N. Security Council to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The countries that were to be subjected to this court’s jurisdiction had no say in its establishment and had never given their consent. Yet they were ordered to cooperate on pain of sanctions, and worse. To this day, the United States punishes Yugoslavia for insufficient zeal in cooperating with the tribunal.

On May 27, President Bush signed an order continuing a state of national emergency with regard to Yugoslavia: “Because the crisis with respect to the situation in Kosovo and with respect to Slobodan Milosevic, his close associates and supporters and persons under open indictment for war crimes by the ICTY has not been resolved,” the president declared, there existed an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” Bush ordered that all property of the Yugoslav government in the U.S. continue to be blocked and that “trade and other transactions” with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia be prohibited. This, a year after the abduction and handover of Slobodan Milosevic to the Hague tribunal!

The Hague tribunal served as the prototype for the ICC and it possesses all the features that Americans are today complaining about: The prosecutor is out of control. Prosecutor and court are one and the same. Appellate court and trial court are also one and the same. The court is answerable to no one. There is no jury. Prosecutors may appeal an acquittal and insist on continued detention of a defendant. Yet, the service members’ protection act insists that the work of the Hague tribunal continue undisturbed: “Nothing in this title shall prohibit the United States from rendering assistance to international efforts to bring to justice Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosovic, Osama bin Laden” and other foreign nationals accused of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

It is hardly surprising that the U.S. is so fond of the ICTY. Here is a court financed by the U.S., assorted NATO governments, U.S. corporations and, of course, the ubiquitous George Soros. Its personnel come largely from the U.S. Justice Department. The presiding judge in the Milosevic trial, Richard May, is British and a prominent figure in the Labor party whose leader, Tony Blair, played a major role in the 1999 war against Yugoslavia. The prosecutor, Geoffrey Nice, is also British. Here then is justice, NATO style–what the strong mete out to the weak.

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]