The ICC vs. U.S.: Who is the real loser?

Tehran Times - - ANALYSIS & INTERVIEW -

TEHRAN (FNA) — The In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court (ICC) has fi­nally moved to in­ves­ti­gate U.S. war crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing the 17-year long war in Afghanistan.

This is wel­come news as this is what the in­ter­na­tional civil so­ci­ety ex­pects from the ICC. The U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion has long been us­ing its in­flu­ence over global bod­ies to the ex­tent that it sees it­self an “ex­cep­tional” na­tion. Now the Hague in­tends to prove that un­like other in­ter­na­tional bod­ies such as the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil or the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) this is not the case with the ICC, and that even if Wash­ing­ton moves to po­si­tion it­self in di­rect op­po­si­tion not just to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, but the court it­self, it won’t be able to stop jus­tice from be­ing served to the long-suf­fer­ing peo­ple of Afghanistan.

Still, that didn’t stop U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser John Bolton from say­ing that the U.S. will not only refuse to co­op­er­ate with the ICC, but that “for all in­tents and pur­poses, the ICC is al­ready dead to us.” Bolton is sug­gest­ing that the U.S. will block any judges and pros­e­cu­tors from en­ter­ing the U.S., freeze any ICC funds in the U.S. fi­nan­cial sys­tem, and im­pose sanc­tions against the ICC and its of­fi­cials!

The U.S. has long re­sisted ICC over­sight of its myr­iad war crimes and mis­deeds, and has long in­sisted that Amer­i­cans are im­mune from ICC pros­e­cu­tion. This has tended to work in the past, as the ICC has so far not made any se­ri­ous moves against any U.S. cit­i­zens. Not any­more, as things have changed and jus­tice is no longer a lux­ury. Un­der In­ter­na­tional Law, there­fore, the ICC has the power and au­thor­ity to pros­e­cute Amer­i­cans com­mit­ting war crimes not just in Afghanistan, but in Iraq, Syria and Ye­men as well.

It is un­der the same in­ter­na­tional norms that the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court has firmly dis­missed the threat of sanc­tions against it by Bolton in case it probes U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, declar­ing that it will con­tinue its work “un­de­terred.”

“The ICC, as a court of law, will con­tinue to do its work un­de­terred, in ac­cor­dance with those prin­ci­ples and the over­ar­ch­ing idea of the rule of law,” the ICC an­nounced in a Tues­day state­ment, a day af­ter Bolton used bul­ly­ing rhetoric against the UN-backed tri­bunal in The Hague.

The in­ter­na­tional court has fur­ther in­sisted that it is an in­de­pen­dent and im­par­tial in­sti­tu­tion with the back­ing of 123 na­tions, and that it would not be in­tim­i­dated or dis­suaded from its global task.

ICC Pros­e­cu­tor Fa­tou Ben­souda is right to an­nounce that there is a “rea­son­able ba­sis to be­lieve” war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity have been com­mit­ted in Afghanistan and that all sides in the 17-year-old con­flict would be in­spected, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the U.S. mil­i­tary and its CIA spy­ing net­work.

Wash­ing­ton has re­fused to rat­ify the Rome Treaty that es­tab­lished the ICC. The U.S. has adopted the so-called Amer­i­can Ser­vices-Mem­bers “Pro­tec­tion Act” - nick­named The Hague In­va­sion Act - which au­tho­rizes the use of any means nec­es­sary to free any Amer­i­can per­son­nel held by the court. But that’s not enough to jus­tify any ICC backpedal from its right­ful po­si­tion.

Fur­ther still, the attack by Bolton against the ICC is not only in di­rect con­tra­dic­tion to the prin­ci­ple of ac­count­abil­ity for war crimes, but re­in­forces the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­pug­nant pol­icy of ex­cep­tion­al­ism, where it de­mands ad­her­ence to In­ter­na­tional Law by all coun­tries, ex­cept it­self. The U.S. dmin­is­tra­tion’s threat to crim­i­nally pros­e­cute and sanc­tion In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court judges and pros­e­cu­tors is straight out of an au­thor­i­tar­ian play­book. Yet, those who be­lieve that this crim­i­nal and au­to­cratic rule of the White House started un­der Don­ald Trump need to re­mem­ber Pres­i­dent Obama’s state­ments. But still, this con­ceited be­lief in ex­cep­tion­al­ism has al­ways been present in the minds and ac­tions of the U.S. pres­i­dents ever since late World War II.

Taken to­gether, de­liv­er­ing jus­tice to the vic­tims of Amer­ica’s long­est war in his­tory will help to fa­cil­i­tate the peace process in Afghanistan. This is their ba­sic hu­man right and de­mand and it must be re­spected by the U.S. which keeps telling us that it cares about in­ter­na­tional norms and hu­man rights. The ICC should also in­ves­ti­gate the Is­raeli regime’s crimes against hu­man­ity in oc­cu­pied Pales­tine, be­cause like its Amer­i­can pa­trons, the usurper regime of Is­rael is not above In­ter­na­tional Law ei­ther.

Per usual, the on­go­ing U.S.-led war in Afghanistan has only brought death and de­struc­tion to the Afghan peo­ple. The war has been a dis­as­trous fail­ure and it is go­ing re­ally badly. By pros­e­cut­ing those who have com­mit­ted war crimes, the ICC can force the U.S. to change its strat­egy and show some re­spect for jus­tice and ac­count­abil­ity out­side its bor­ders or sim­ply leave Afghanistan. This way, it can also pave the way for na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and an in­ter­na­tional ef­fort to end the pro­tracted con­flict.

Af­ter all, there is no grandiose pur­pose to hav­ing U.S. mil­i­tary forces op­er­at­ing in Afghanistan. Peo­ple like Bolton who fa­vor an es­ca­la­tion of the war ought to own up to its heavy costs and bloody con­se­quences. Of course, none of this is likely to be the case as long as the U.S. com­man­ders pur­sue their strat­egy of bomb and apol­o­gize (and in many cases bomb even with no apol­ogy), while gar­rison­ing the planet and fight­ing open-ended wars on not only Afghan but global fron­tiers.

In­stead of fu­elling global out­rage for their il­licit wars and oc­cu­pa­tions, the war­mon­gers in Wash­ing­ton would be bet­ter off and safer, if they come to their senses, co­op­er­ate with the ICC and end their failed mis­sion in Afghanistan. Threat­en­ing the ICC in a bid to con­tinue war crimes would never bring the White House losers a vic­tory in Afghanistan the same way it hasn’t thus far.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.