FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

John Bolton Versus the International Criminal Court: A Simple Solution

In a September 10 speech to the Federalist Society, National Security Advisor John Bolton offered “a major announcement on US policy toward the International Criminal Court.” The US government, per Bolton, considers the court “fundamentally illegitimate. … We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC.”

Bolton threatened sanctions against the court and those who resort to it or cooperate with it in investigations of war crimes involving the United States or Israel. He also announced the first such sanction, closure of a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in retaliation for the state of Palestine’s referral of charges against Israel for actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

What’s with this sudden interest in the court and its jurisdiction?

Why is Bolton suddenly so concerned with protecting notions of “sovereignty” (he uses the word nine times) that the US government itself routinely ignores at its convenience, claiming global jurisdiction over individuals and organizations outside its own borders in matters ranging from the 17-year “war on terror” to its financial regulation and sanctions schemes?

The answer, in a word: Afghanistan. The regime installed by the US after its 2001 invasion of that country, and maintained in power by the US since then, ratified the Rome Statute in 2003. Crimes committed in Afghanistan since then, regardless of the perpetrators’ nationalities, therefore fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Bolton finds it unconscionable that an American — in particular an American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or politician — accused of crimes committed in Afghanistan might be tried in a court Afghanistan’s government has duly accepted the authority of. So much for “sovereignty.”

Bolton wants it both ways. On one hand, the long arm of US law must reach everywhere, be it to a bank in Switzerland, to a hacker’s keyboard in the United Kingdom, or to a battlefield in the Middle East. On the other hand, no foreign arm of law must ever reach a US citizen, regardless of the alleged crime or where it was committed.

Pretty messed up, but there’s a simple solution. All the US government has to do is close its embassies and consulates in, withdraw its troops from, and advise its citizens not to travel to, any of the 120-odd countries which recognize the International Criminal Court as their judicial authority for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

Starting with Afghanistan.

Problem solved.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
David Yearsley
Call Saul
Elliot Sperber
Ecology Over Economy 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail