Friday, September 14, 2018

What Is the International Criminal Court?

You can say that this is a tale of two cultures. The topic is the International Criminal Court. In one corner we find an opinion piece by former Bush administration speechwriter Marc Thiessen. In the other corner we find a news story-- or perhaps a news analysis-- offered by the New York Times.

Thiessen defends National Security Advisor John Bolton’s excoriating attack on the ICC last week… on the grounds of American national interest. The Times story attacks Bolton and the Trump administration on the grounds of globalism, the so-called international community of democratic nations, nations that put justice ahead of national interest.

Thiessen lays out his case, explaining that this United Nations offshoot is about to investigate, perhaps even to prosecute, Americans:

Should an unaccountable United Nations court, created by a treaty to which the United States is not a signatory, and that the Senate has not ratified, be allowed to investigate, try and imprison American citizens?

Unfortunately, this is no longer a theoretical question. In November, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, announced she was seeking a formal investigation into alleged war crimes committed by U.S. military forces and CIA officers in Afghanistan. Bensouda — a Gambian lawyer who is answerable to no government or institution — claims unbridled power to investigate, charge and prosecute American citizens, no matter what the U.S. government says. A pretrial chamber of the court, made up of judges from Hungary, France and Benin, reportedly will approve her request in the coming days.

This organization grants itself “unbridled power” to prosecute United States citizens. It's a way for weak nations to show how much they resent strong nations.

Of course, Thiessen continues, the ICC will also soon turn its powers against Israel:

Not only is the ICC threatening Americans, it has our democratic ally, Israel, in its crosshairs. In 2015, Bensouda opened a preliminary investigation of Israel for actions defending itself against Palestinian terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Gaza — despite the fact that the court has no jurisdiction because Israel is not a party to the treaty, and because Palestinian territories cannot be a “state party” to the treaty considering they are not a “state.” In May, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, traveled to The Hague to hand over a criminal referral against Israel and to urge the court to indict and prosecute Israeli officials.

The New York Times article, written by Matt Apuzzo, Marlise Simons takes a more globalist perspective. National interests are for nothing when aligned against the will to force the world to fulfill the cosmopolitan  ideal of one world government. Didn’t Barack Obama declare himself to be a citizen of the world? Didn’t he say that America was no more exceptional than any other country? What did you think he meant by that?

Besides, Jeremiah Wright’s protege believed that America had committed crimes against humanity and deserved to be punished.

The Times is still clinging to Obama’s globalist approach:

For the Trump administration, Mr. Bolton’s speech was the latest example of disdain for global organizations and — in this case — taking the same side as strongmen and dictators. But for the International Criminal Court, a relatively young institution, the new White House policy of open hostility comes at a perilous time.

People who love international order and justice have invested heavily in the court’s success. One notes, in passing that the guarantor of international order in the postwar period has not been the United Nations, but the United States of America. Don’t let that stand in the way of your love of cosmopolitan justice:

Nevertheless, many of America’s closest allies regard the court as a symbol of international order and justice and have invested heavily in its success. Mr. Bolton’s comments were seen here as a threat to the institution and an invitation to world leaders to ignore the court’s authority.

“This bombastic threat against an institution’s operation, no matter what the circumstances, only serves to cut our ties further with our allies,” said Patricia M. Wald, a retired American judge who served as a judge on a separate war crimes tribunal here.

Note also that the Times says that many of America’s closest allies love the court. Those would be the weak nations of Great Britain, France, Germany and Canada. Since Trump now treats them as junior partners, as weak links in the Atlantic alliance, you can see why they want to flex their muscles-- not their military muscles, but their judicial muscles.

The United States is not alone is refusing to allow a bunch of children to have sovereignty over them or their citizens. Most of the largest nations in the world have never supported the International Criminal Court:

Mr. Bolton’s speech, and the new hard line it presages, raises fresh concerns about the endurance of the court without backing from the world’s largest countries. China and India never supported it. Russia abandoned its veneer of an endorsement. The nations of the European Union are members and represent the court’s biggest bloc of support.

Lawyers and human-rights groups were alarmed, in particular, at the threat of prosecuting international lawyers and judges. “Coming from the host country of the United Nations, it is very dangerous to an international legal order,” said William Pace, the head of the Coalition for the International Court, an organization set up to support the court. “It is undermining the fundamental pillars of an international order designed after World War II to prevent World War III.”

To repeat myself, the pillar of international order has not been the United Nations or its offshoots. It has not been lawyers and human rights groups. It has been the United States of America… period.


trigger warning said...

Fatou Bensouda, proud graduate of the Nigerian Law School (est. 1962). Surely someone we should listen to because Diversity. I'm sure they attract a stellar faculty in cosmopolitan Bwari.

sestamibi said...

Hey, and why not? We already have many US courts referencing foreign case precedents. (heavy sarc on).

Sam L. said...

Sorry, folks, I am snark-deficient today.

Sam L. said...

The ICC is anti-American, and probably suffering from a case of Euro-inferiority.

Anonymous said...

The ICC decides to bring sexual harassment charges agains't Kavanaugh for pulling a little girl's pigtails when he was in kindergarten. Just imagine the possibilities for the ICC to play havoc with our country.