1
   

U.S. Troops Must Not Be at the Mercy of the ICC

 
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 06:27 am
Interesting point. Much depends on the degree to which you believe these "trials" (which are still going on) will have any beneficial or preventive effect. So far the evidence is very scanty. Moreover neither of these were the natural outcome of ICC or ordinary UN processes. It took a great deal of prodding to get even the immediate neighbors of disintegrating Yugoslavia to react to what was happening there - same goes for world reaction to Rqanda. So far no ICC action to any of the many other problems listyed. Why????????????
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 07:23 am
I realize that I am going to accused of always siding against the troops and the US even though I am American.

Nevertheless :wink: , it just makes sense to me to have an outside body to investigate and try whatever country's action is in question. Otherwise it is like the fox guarding the hen house kind of a thing.

To say that the reason that the US can be trusted to try itself is because we are good people...is just silly in my opinion. In that case law and justice would be a "respecter of persons."
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 07:33 am
Quote:
It would be refreshing to see evidence that the ICC or the UN were able to deal in a meaningful or effective way with issues such as occurred a few years ago in Rwanda or which are occurring now in Sudan or Zimbabwe, or the Congo. Certainly the actions of Islamist terrorists in Saudi Arabia, Spain, Palestine, Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia, Philippines, and the United States can be construed to be "Crimes Against Humanity" under the ICC statute. Many of these countries are signatories, and yet no action has been taken to deal with the perpetrators. Why?. The point is that the ICC has not so far shown itself to be a meaningful remedy for any unsolved problem facing the world.


george -- I'm assuming you are talking about these other situations in your above post. My guess would be that, since the ICC is part of the UN, the UN would have to agree to investigate these things. But in many of these cases there is an interested power (the US, Russia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Spain) that presumably is already on it. Why, for instance, would they investigate 911 when we've already investigated it, launched a retaliatory attack plus a bonus, and all 19 hijackers are dead? Why would they launch an investigation/trials for suicide bombers when 1) they're dead and 2) Israel more than likely has already retaliated 2 or 3 times over for each bombing? I'd have to read more to find out what the criteria is for the ICC to get involved, but I seriously doubt that their mission is to get themselves involved in every single crime in every single country. I don't think the idea is that they duplicate already functioning law enforcement powers within a country but that they step forward when those powers are unwilling or unable to enforce international law.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 08:03 am
Craven de Kere wrote:
McG,

You can't have your cake and eat it. You frequently cast the US in a role of globocop by necessity, with the general theme being that no other authority steps up to the plate.

At the same time, you demonstrate an aversion to anyone stepping up to the plate as a perceived threat to the US hegemony.

"The UN is nothing more than a powerless debate club."

"We cannot let the UN bolster its authority."

You can't have your cake and eat it.


No, I'm looking at it from the same perspective of why professors gain tenure and Supreme Court Judges have a lifetime appointment. So their actions, despite being contrary to popular opinion, can not be used against them.

Let's look at Iraq. Saddam Hussein was the leader of Iraq and had full jurisdiction in Iraq. He made the law. American actions during the first gulf war broke many of Iraq's internal laws. Things like dropping bombs on Saddams palaces, etc... What was to stop Saddam from bringing the US up on War Crimes charges? Even today, Saddam can claim that his role as sovereign of Iraq was unduly revoked and he could again try to bringh the US to the ICC.

I am not for only the US being immune to the ICC, but I see the whole system to be a joke and useless.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 08:07 am
Can I just reiterate -- isn't the ICC concerned with international law and not each country's own laws?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 09:23 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
This was thought to be an educationary action.

Now, I am disapponted that you didn't notice that, Joe!

Some people are highly resistant to education, Walter. Have pity on them.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 11:30 am
deleted -was posted in wrong thread-
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 11:31 am
joefromchicago wrote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:
This was thought to be an educationary action.

Now, I am disapponted that you didn't notice that, Joe!

Some people are highly resistant to education, Walter. Have pity on them.


I'll have (some even say, I'm the brother of the Sisters of Mercy!).
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 11:38 am
So, not knowing a whole heck of a lot about the ICC myself, I went digging. I thought this information might be useful to the discussion, so here is what I found.

http://www.icc-cpi.int/about.html

Quote:
About the Court
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first ever permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished.

The Court shall be complementary to national criminal jurisdictions. The jurisdiction and functioning of the Court shall be governed by the provisions of the Rome Statute.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was established by on 17 July 1998, when 120 States participating in the "United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court" adopted the Statute. The Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002. Anyone who commits any of the crimes under the Statute after this date will be liable for prosecution by the Court.

Download the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (PDF, 448KB)



from the link on that page...

Quote:
Article 5
Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court
1. The jurisdiction of the Court shall be limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the
international community as a whole. The Court has jurisdiction in accordance with this Statute
with respect to the following crimes:
(a) The crime of genocide;
(b) Crimes against humanity;
(c) War crimes;
(d) The crime of aggression.
2. The Court shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression once a provision is
adopted in accordance with articles 121 and 123 defining the crime and setting out the conditions
under which the Court shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to this crime. Such a provision shall
be consistent with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 9
Article 6
Genocide
For the purpose of this Statute, "genocide" means any of the following acts committed with
intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article 7
Crimes against humanity
1. For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts
when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian
population, with knowledge of the attack:
(a) Murder;
(b) Extermination;
(c) Enslavement;
(d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of
fundamental rules of international law;
(f) Torture;
(g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization,
or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national,
ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally
recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this
paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;
(i) Enforced disappearance of persons;
(j) The crime of apartheid;
(k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or
serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.


There's a whole lot more in the Rome Statute that is interesting reading.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 01:39 pm
georgeob1 wrote:
Craven,

I think the counter argument would be along the lines that the ICC and like actions of the UN do not truly constitute "stepping up to the plate". Instead they are merely gestures to placate the consciences of complacent and action-adverse Europeans. Problems of the type cited by proponents of the ICC continue to go on, quite unaffected by it. It is a remedy in search of a problem, and one readily capable of malicious misuse.


I see this as yet another case of wanting to have your cake and eat it. You criticize the "action-adverse Europeans" in the same breath as you condemn a precedential venue for action.

You can't have it both ways.

As to the issue of being readily capable of misuse I again disagree. I think this common complaint has more to do with an inherent aversion to any supra-nationalistic authority than understanding of the ICC. That the opponents of the ICC are oponents in-principle and objected to the mere concept is something I consider evidence of the nature of the objections having more to do with nationalism than the pretexts that serve as the objections.

After all, if the real concern is the misuse, then why not build in safeguards? Instead, the opponents object to the very concept of international authority, which is the real point.


Quote:
It would be refreshing to see evidence that the ICC or the UN were able to deal in a meaningful or effective way with issues such as occurred a few years ago in Rwanda or which are occurring now in Sudan or Zimbabwe, or the Congo. Certainly the actions of Islamist terrorists in Saudi Arabia, Spain, Palestine, Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia, Philippines, and the United States can be construed to be "Crimes Against Humanity" under the ICC statute. Many of these countries are signatories, and yet no action has been taken to deal with the perpetrators. Why?. The point is that the ICC has not so far shown itself to be a meaningful remedy for any unsolved problem facing the world.


In addition, the baby in the bath water has not yet shown himself to be a true leader. Let's throw him out.

Come on George! The ICC is in its infancy, and has had strong US opposition since its inception. To find fault for these actions not having taken place is to misunderstand the scope of the ICC.

If you want such actions, the ICC needs to be strengthened. Yet you side with undermining it using the lack of action as a justification.

Again, the opponents can't have it both ways. A more honest argument would be that they simply dislike the notion of an authority over the US.

A simple test for this would be for you to describe an international authority that you would favor, and how the existing authorities might be made to reach this ideal.

Quote:
The case against Rumsfield demonstrates its only real utility, and that is to constrain the United States.


This is an oft repeated fear and a claim laden with absolutism rather than evidence. It is also a criticism that neglects to demonstrate that the actual downside is undesireable.

It is, however, revealing in that it's the most honest argument against the ICC.

The ICC is seen as a threat to US hegemony. This is the underlying objection to all the significant counter arguments I have seen.


Quote:
The problem is that this Gulliver does not accept the constraints the Lilliputians are offering...


Case in point, this objection has more to do with magnanimous self-image than the objections repeatedly cited.


Quote:
The United States has no reason to investigate its Secretary of Defense, merely because some NGO has filed a frivolous lawsuit in Germany under this absurd statute.


Nor does the US have any obligation to, under the ICC. Copious lawsuits of a frivolous nature don't cause you to dismiss our own legal system out of hand.

I submit that you oppose the ICC not because of this mere frivolity but because of an inherent objection to the very concept of international authority.

Quote:
Vexatious abuses like these are a legitimate concern for nations like the United States. (China and India take similar views - odd that there is no expressed concern about them.)


Do you have suggestions for safeguards against such issues beyond instinctive rejection of the concept itself?

Quote:
Alternatively, if the UN or even the ICC were to show themselves able to deal in a serious or effective way with any of the several really serious abuses of humanity going on in the world, I would quickly revise my opinion.


I submit that if you want the ICC, a court, to also have the equivalent of a police force to bring people to said court, that your arguments should be for it to be strengthened.

Quote:
Perhaps they could start with the internal political, economic, and public health situation io Zimbabwe; or there is Darfur and the Sudan; or, perhaps, abuses of human rights in the Democratic Republic of Korea. or Chechnya; consider Tibet or that China stoutly resists any interference. There is always the problem of Islamist international terrorism - waiting for effective action by either institution.


George, this is absurd. You want the ICC to gain support for its very existence through herculean feats of strength. You've not set the doorknob high, you have set it on the other side of the door and have argued that for the bastards to get a doorknob on their side they should be able to open the door with ease.

Quote:
It is very easy to theorize about the potential of this or that imaginary remedy: much harder to deal in a meaningful way with real issues confronting the world. If the ICC and the UN can truly "step up to the plate" and show themselves effective in preventing or dealing with real problems, then they should be taken very seriously and given the deference they earn. Until then they don't deserve much attention.


This just doesn't make sense.

[parody]Until the complicated structures required to deal with this problem magically deal with this problem no attention toward building such structures should be given.[/parody]

Quote:


This is a straw man. The United States need not "submit itself" any more than any of the other signatories. At present the natural objection to your reasoning is merely that the United States might better ensure the effectiveness of the ICC if the United States ceased the very strong efforts to undermine and oppose its very existence.

Quote:
This, of course is an accurate expression of what many in Europe and other areas really want - a controlling voice in the management of political affairs in this country. I note that Europe is quite content to deny us a voice in the management of their political affairs, and believe we should retain the same rights in ours.


Earlier we briefly touched on South American fantasy and its comparison to reality. I think this is a similar case in which your fantasy does not correlate with reality.

The ICC does not in any way grant anyone a "controlling voice" in our political affairs.

If you claim otherwise please show me the evidence of this.

Quote:
Finally, it is an illusion to suppose that those who are unwilling themselves to act in cases in which action is obviously needed - as for example a decade ago in Bosnia - will suddenly become emboldened if they can function under the "guidance" of yet another international bureaucracy. The supposed bad manners of the United States are merely the current excuse for inaction by the timid and complacent. If we concede, they will merely find another excuse.


If your objection really were the lack of action you would not oppose the existence of the ICC, you would wish for it to be actively acting on the geopolitical stage.

Quote:
These are the real issues here. The problem is that they aren't acknowledged by the advocates who are so aroused and defensive about it all.


George, the opponents of the ICC are the "aroused and defensive" ones railing against it and actively opposing it.

I think the concerns raised need to be addressed, but I can't help but think the point of the opponents is not to address this but to instinctively oppose international authority.

Again, a simple test is for such an opponent to describe what structural elements they think such an international authority should have.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 01:50 pm
McGentrix wrote:

No, I'm looking at it from the same perspective of why professors gain tenure and Supreme Court Judges have a lifetime appointment. So their actions, despite being contrary to popular opinion, can not be used against them.


I am not sure I understand this explanation of your perspective.

Quote:
Let's look at Iraq. Saddam Hussein was the leader of Iraq and had full jurisdiction in Iraq. He made the law. American actions during the first gulf war broke many of Iraq's internal laws. Things like dropping bombs on Saddams palaces, etc... What was to stop Saddam from bringing the US up on War Crimes charges? Even today, Saddam can claim that his role as sovereign of Iraq was unduly revoked and he could again try to bringh the US to the ICC.


But this doesn't correlate with reality. The ICC is not a court for enforcement of Saddam's laws.

The issue of sovereignty is a valid one, but I think you may be looking at it the wrong way. As it stands the war was waged with no legal legitimacy beyond the notion that Iraq was a clear and immediate threat to the US. This case is argued by some, but suffice it to say that the case is not a strong one.

A strong case, can, however be made to the effect that Saddam was guilty of human rights abuses.

And this is what makes your selection of Iraq interesting. Without the ICC Saddam's actions within his own borders were in violation only of Iraq's own laws, and his tenure atop the dictatorship rendered said laws lipservice to human rights.

The ICC's scope is to provide illegality to such actions. It may not be able to stop them all at present (similar to how the courts can't stop crime) but it's an important step toward legal legitimacy for doing so.

A more accurate scenario would have been for the ICC to try Saddam in the case that he were captured and the Iraqi courts not yet prepared to try him.

The ICC is supposed to improve on the concept of, say a Nuremberg, improving the flaws (one such example is the ex post facto issues) inherent to such courts in the past.

Quote:
I am not for only the US being immune to the ICC, but I see the whole system to be a joke and useless.


I am for the US being "immune" to the ICC as well, but by maintaining a legal system that takes care of human rights abuses ourselves. This is all that is needed for us to be "immune" to the ICC. The ICC's explicitly stated scope is to provide legal frameworks where such abuses are ignored.

Do you have any structural suggestions for improvement? Or am I correct to consider this to be yet another instinctual objection to international authority as a concept?
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 01:59 pm
What I mean is that if the US is going to be held accountable by the ICC, then it may cause the US not to venture out as peace keepers in the future. It might be too risky to try to help others because countries like France, Syria, or some other country may try to bring International charges against US troops.

Professors gain tenure so as to be immune to administrative misuse of power in firing them for teaching opposing viewpoints and Judges are not threatened with being fired for doing what they believe is best. Does that make sense? It's a pre-cautionary take.

I also believe that the US judicial system and rule of law is probably one of the better examples of how justice should be done in the world. I do not see an ICC being able to do any better than what we do for ourselves. Contrary to what some people here may believe, the US really does hold itself accountable for its actions and there is no need for an external system to judge us.

For the ICC to really work, it should be part of the UN (which really needs to be overhauled and start having requirements for being a mem\ber again) and be on equal footing as other parts like the Security Council.

Countries that do not have freely elected governments should never be allowed to take advantage of systems like the ICC.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 02:01 pm
Been here before.

Read up, for example, on the instructive discussion on the ICC we stumbled into slightly over a year ago in a thread on the Iraq war, from this post onwards. Very interesting.

We also reprised it a little bit, in a discussion that was a little more prone to going all kinds of ways but still did have lots of relevant info, in a digression that took place on the "What the World thinks of America" thread, from about this post onwards.

I looked up shiploads of stuff back then, as I recall ... but I dont feel like going into it all once more! ;-)
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 02:14 pm
McGentrix wrote:
What I mean is that if the US is going to be held accountable by the ICC, then it may cause the US not to venture out as peace keepers in the future.


"The US" can't be held accountable by the ICC. This would be beyond the scope of the ICC.

Individuals who commit war crimes would be, but only absent any other legal framework dealing with said abuses.

Quote:
It might be too risky to try to help others because countries like France, Syria, or some other country may try to bring International charges against US troops.


Any legal system is subject to frivolous litigation. Do you have any suggestions on safeguards against the situations your are concerned about?

If not, then do you have any explanations for why you dismiss this legal system for something inherent to all legal systems?

Quote:
Professors gain tenure so as to be immune to administrative misuse of power in firing them for teaching opposing viewpoints and Judges are not threatened with being fired for doing what they believe is best. Does that make sense?


Not really, because it is untrue. But more interestingly, you are speaking of safeguards against abuse in a comparison of abandoning the ICC's existence altogether.

I don't see the connection. A more accurate comparison would be to do away with the legal system and universities altogether wouldn't it?

Quote:
I also believe that the US judicial system and rule of law is probably one of the better examples of how justice should be done in the world. I do not see an ICC being able to do any better than what we do for ourselves.


Then you should be pleased to know that the ICC's explicitly stated scope is to act only absent such a fine legal system that can take care of itself.

Quote:
Contrary to what some people here may believe, the US really does hold itself accountable for its actions and there is no need for an external system to judge us.


And contrary to the understanding of many ICC opponents the ICC's scope is for situations in which no other legal system holds individuals accountable for war crimes.

Quote:
For the ICC to really work, it should be part of the UN


http://www.un.org/law/icc/

Quote:
..and be on equal footing as other parts like the Security Council.


This sounds like a suggestion for improvement. I'm pleasantly surprised.

What do you have in mind?

Quote:
Countries that do not have freely elected governments should never be allowed to take advantage of systems like the ICC.


Hmm, I agree with your basic notion here. Though for the purpose of handling diverse real-world situations it may need to be less absolute.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 02:21 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
Any legal system is subject to frivolous litigation. Do you have any suggestions on safeguards against the situations your are concerned about?


If frivolous litigation could be done away with, I'm sure many would like to know how. It's one of the premier annoyances of doing any kind of business in the U.S.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 02:35 pm
ehBeth wrote:
Craven de Kere wrote:
Any legal system is subject to frivolous litigation. Do you have any suggestions on safeguards against the situations your are concerned about?


If frivolous litigation could be done away with, I'm sure many would like to know how. It's one of the premier annoyances of doing any kind of business in the U.S.


And, tragically, the rot is contagious..... at least, it is moving south, to here But this is a digression...
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 02:41 pm
I actually think it has something to do with why many in the U.S. view the ICC the way they do. They seem to think that frivolous litigation is the standard, not the exception. It's interesting how different it is around here - close to the border with the U.S. - more examples of frivolous litigation coming up - further away - still not the case.

If you see these examples of frivolous/reckless litigation around you, you may think it's the same everywhere else - and want to prevent getting caught up in it.

I think it's one of the reasons you also get some of the puzzled reactions to some U.S. posters objections to the ICC. People in other countries find it a bit of a "what you talkin' about" thing.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 02:55 pm
McGentrix wrote:
Countries that do not have freely elected governments should never be allowed to take advantage of systems like the ICC.


I'm not sure what you mean by take advantage. I hope you don't mean that citizens of a country without a freely elected government can't hope to try their leaders for international crimes in the ICC. It's those people who need the ICC.

And in a way, a good argument for allowing those countries into the UN is that it affords a way to hold them accountable for international crimes that doesn not involve retaliatory bombing.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 03:02 pm
You are too right, FreeDuck: actually that, what McGentrix doesn't want, is one of the main reasons for creating the ICC: namely that those have rights as well ...
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2004 03:06 pm
How about I change that to say "Governments that are not freely elected should never be allowed to take advantage of systems like the ICC"? That is more in tune with what I meant to say.
0 Replies
 
 

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