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International Criminal Court
July 2, 2003 4:17 AM   Subscribe

The United States is cutting off military aid to 35 countries, including Colombia and six east European nations, because they back the International Criminal Court and have not exempted Americans from possible prosecution.
"...the Bush administration is afraid the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, backed by most European countries, might hear politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. military and civilian leaders."
posted by jonvaughan (56 comments total)

 
While I find pathetic the U.S.'s attitude towards the court, when I read this earlier it did not strike me as terribly unfair. You never know: those countries might be better off without US military aid. On the other hand, I thought there was a reason why there was military aid in the first place. Take Colombia, one of the countries affected - I don't approve of what the US is doing there, but in theory the ultimate goal is to stop cocaine entering in the U.S. So who is affected negatively by a unilateral pull of aid?

This without getting into the issue of countries that don't get military aid in the first ... but now are prohibited from getting any. That must have been extremely excruciating for them ...
posted by magullo at 4:27 AM on July 2, 2003


This isn't intended as a flamebait, but I really do worry about the American government. There is no longer any control over them. At least while there was a viable Russian opposition there was a zing to zang. There was a need for America to take part in thing either to keep Russian in or because it was already in and America didn't want to be left out of things.

It's becoming more an more obvious that America is the rogue state. No disrespect to all American citizens here, but the government is out of control. It does what is in the best interests of the people in power, rather than the government in general or the people it is supposed to be representing.

And I'll warn you now, you are making yourselves targets. I feel sorry for you, I genuinely do.

Yes, I'm a pessamist, but I'm rarely surprised as a result...

Why shouldn't you join the court? If you do nothing wrong then what is there to be scared of? I'll tell you why - I happen to know one of the UK troops accused of abusing Iraqi's recently and it's now being ignored as being a fabrication based upon 'retaliation' for an accusation made by the British.

America is a rogue state. I just worry that someone will try and take it down and then we all have to deal with the consequences...
posted by twine42 at 4:47 AM on July 2, 2003


I don't blame them a bit.

Sixteen months ago, when the first al-Qa'ida prisoners began arriving in Cuba, they were shaved and treated with delousing shampoo because they were crawling with vermin. Critics accused the US of war crimes for shaving off Muslim men's beards. Seriously. War crimes for getting rid of lice.

If you knew that there were critics out there, convinced of your evil and waiting for any excuse to prosecute you, wouldn't you do the same?
posted by ednopantz at 5:08 AM on July 2, 2003


ednoplantz - sorry, but I don't accept that. The court will undoubtably run incredibly slowly. Those sort of things wouldn't stand a snowballs chance in hell of getting to the court. And even if they did, the government obviously has proof, right?

Which reminds me, has America released or charged it's prisoners of war captives guests with no ability to leave?
posted by twine42 at 5:15 AM on July 2, 2003


ednopantz,

amnesty international's claims were more far reaching than just shaving off their beards. First of all they were never declared Prisoners of War because that would inconvenience the government. Not having a tribunal to determine their status is a violation of the Geneva convention.
posted by substrate at 5:16 AM on July 2, 2003


magullo: It's called 'cutting your nose off to spite your face.'
posted by Cerebus at 5:19 AM on July 2, 2003


in theory the ultimate goal is to stop cocaine entering in the U.S. So who is affected negatively by a unilateral pull of aid?

Poor black drug users who get caught up in the DEA backlash?
posted by cortex at 5:20 AM on July 2, 2003


ednopantz - I hardly think the ICC would seek to prosecute US servicemen for shaving off beards when they could be looking at the whole issue of illegal imprisonment in the first place. Frankly if you're going to arrest and imprison folks without any real reference to law and without any trial or access to lawyers etc its somewhat inevitable that people might jump to conclusions.

The US attitude to the ICC seems to me to be part of their increasing attitude of unilateralism in foreign policy. Whilst the Iraq war could well herald a period of activity, contempt for the UN(look at the reticience in using it at all prior to Iraq), refusal to ratify heaps of global treaties (Kyoto, landmines etc) seems to indicate that any activity will be solely on the US' terms. I'm not in any way an American-bashing nut - but I am starting to be quite concerned.
posted by prentiz at 5:29 AM on July 2, 2003


If you do nothing wrong then what is there to be scared of?
These are the exact words used by the Bush Administratin to justify the worst excesses of the Patriot Act. I'm astounded that you seem to be saying this seriously.

I'm honestly baffled by the moral righteousness of advocates of the ICC. Who writes the laws that the ICC enforces? What is the democratic mechanism for allowing people to petition for change in these laws? Are there limits on these laws, or can they be extended into any domain? Is there a guarantee of due process? What does the police force that will enforce these laws look like, and who has oversight over that police force?

The ICC FAQ deliberately fudges the answers to all of these questions. Then it says that "drug trafficking could also be added in a future review conference". History has always shown that any bureaucratic organisation will naturally seek to extend its power, and any concentration of power will be abused.

People rightfully complain about a lack of democratic input into organisations like the World Bank and the WTO. They rightfully complain about the denial of due process at Camp X-Ray. They can rightfully complain about the same problems in the ICC.
posted by fuzz at 5:33 AM on July 2, 2003


Fuzz brings up some very good points. However, the issue at hand/keyboard is the removal of aid from countries that back the court. Bush is ostensibly scared of "politically motivated [hearings]", but his very saying so is, at base, politically motivated. Pot, kettle, I'm sure you've been introduced...

If I recall, the types of war crimes which the Court would be holding hearings over are specified by the UN - which the US has veto power in. If we agreed in the past that such-and-such is a war crime, why are we suddenly so reluctantto submit our own people to the same high standards to which we hold others? (I think I've got too many 'to's in there, but point made, I hope...)
posted by notsnot at 6:22 AM on July 2, 2003


i'm sure instead of military aid, that money will be going to build schools or enforce SEC regulations.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 6:36 AM on July 2, 2003


A good deal of meandering in the comments but if I might get back to a central truth: you may or may not like the positionm the UJS (Bush group) has re the Courts--and if like the UN they often are catering to non-democracies--but it is a universal truism that he who payhs the bills calls the tune. Put aside foreign countries, the administation uses the same technique domestically. Example: this is what we want done. If you choose to ignore what we want, you get no federal funds.

Why on earth should the American govt give funds and aid to countries that have an opposite position of that taken by the American govt, whether you agree or not with that position?
posted by Postroad at 6:37 AM on July 2, 2003


An excellent editorial (IMO) against the ICC.
posted by trharlan at 6:38 AM on July 2, 2003


The Bush soundbite I'll never hear, though I long to:
"How's the food in here, Slobo?"
posted by planetkyoto at 6:40 AM on July 2, 2003


The issue of US unilateralism in foreign policy is certainly a valid point to raise here, but it's not the only factor to consider. There are serious legal questions about whether or not our constitution permits us to grant judicial sovereignty over our citizens to a foreign power. Even if the current administration signed off on the treaty and Congress ratified it, the Supreme Court might very well toss it out as unconstitutional.
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:42 AM on July 2, 2003


Fuzz - some of your questions may be answered on the International Criminal Court website - I was just skimming at the "ICC at a glance" and "Basic Documents" pages in particular. I'm not sure, but I suspect in most cases the answer is "by/under the auspices of the UN Security Council."
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:52 AM on July 2, 2003


fuzz: I agree that the ICC (like all international bodies) will be susceptible to pressure especially from the more powerful states (which makes the USA's refusal to support the ICC even more bizarre). Nevertheless in an imperfect world we can have only imperfect institutions, because the alternative (no institutions at all) is worse.
As to your concerns most are addressed in the Rome Statute (list of signees and ratifications):

Who writes the laws that the ICC enforces?
These are the enforced laws as pertaining to the Statute of Rome.

What is the democratic mechanism for allowing people to petition for change in these laws?

Like in every international treaty: petitioning your government.

Are there limits on these laws, or can they be extended into any domain?
Jurisdiction, Admissibility and Applicable Law
Jurisdiction

Is there a guarantee of due process?

Trial procedure.
Rules of Procedure and Evidence
What does the police force that will enforce these laws look like, and who has oversight over that police force?
The "police force" are the police forces (and military missions?) of countries that have ratified the convention (local police and NATO forces in the case of ex-Yugoslavia).
More here.

History has always shown that any bureaucratic organisation will naturally seek to extend its power.
No it hasn't: The league of nations did not take over the world and the UN is a huge bureaucracy that has done little - but most of it good.

People rightfully complain about a lack of democratic input into organisations like the World Bank and the WTO.
Apples and oranges: The WTO and the World Bank are instruments of policy. They create international law and regulate the world economy. The ICC, like interpol, the WHO and other international institutions, are supposed to enforce already existing laws and practices (or are you familiar with any country where it is legal to commit genocide or war crimes?)
posted by talos at 7:02 AM on July 2, 2003


Some people have asked about camp X-ray, and treatment of the inmates there as POW's:

According to international law, you only get POW status if you're part of an actual army, and wear recognizable uniforms. The "combatants" were plainclothes guerilla fighters. So, the US is under no obligation to treat them as POW's. Like enemy spies, America pretty much has a free hand.

The Iraqi army, for the most part, is different, since they mostly wore uniforms, etc.
posted by unreason at 7:03 AM on July 2, 2003


So, the US is under no obligation to treat them as POW's.

If they aren't POWs, then they are civilian prisoners, entitled to due process of law under our Constitution, whether they are citizens or not.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:08 AM on July 2, 2003


That's bullshit, unreason. The term 'enemy combatant' exists only so we can hold them indefinitely without following international law. Simple as that.

Are you trying to tell me that the 'action' in Afghanistan was not a war?

On preview, what RylandDotNet said.
posted by graventy at 7:10 AM on July 2, 2003


The Iraqi army, for the most part, is different, since they mostly wore uniforms, etc

due process = fashion statement

cool
posted by matteo at 7:16 AM on July 2, 2003


unreason: you might want to take a look at this:
Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention :
The present Convention shall apply to the persons referred to in Article 4 from the time they fall into the power of the enemy and until their final release and repatriation.

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

posted by talos at 7:20 AM on July 2, 2003


talos---fantastic comment.

unreason: look at Geneva Convention regarding POWs (somebody had to break it out), specifically

Article 4 (A)(6)
Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.


---we were the enemy, and they took up arms to resist us. If you respond saying "well, they WERE regulary armed units" then they fit into another aspect of the Geneva Convention.

You might get me on "laws and customs of war", but I'm pretty sure they're debatable.

on preview: talos, you're right about Article 5, but the administration didn't have any doubts...as far as they were concerned, they were "enemy combatatants".
posted by taumeson at 7:21 AM on July 2, 2003


"...the Bush administration is afraid the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, backed by most European countries, might hear politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. military and civilian leaders.

Let alone those who would hold others accountable for their actions in public office. One shudders at the thought.
posted by holycola at 7:44 AM on July 2, 2003


Why on earth should the American govt give funds and aid to countries that have an opposite position of that taken by the American govt, whether you agree or not with that position?

-unpalatable to alot of people, but very true.

According to international law, you only get POW status if you're part of an actual army, and wear recognizable uniforms. The "combatants" were plainclothes guerilla fighters. So, the US is under no obligation to treat them as POW's. Like enemy spies, America pretty much has a free hand.

- unlike the goverment of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and their policy in 'ulster', where now terms such as 'war' are being muttered with abandon. The IRA has now realised the futility of 'war' and has for now abandoned the bomb in favour of the ballot bax the quid pro quo being the emptying of the H blocks. The lesson; one cannot fight fire with fire, more jaw jaw and all that.
posted by johnnyboy at 7:46 AM on July 2, 2003


Why on earth should the American govt give funds and aid to countries that have an opposite position of that taken by the American govt, whether you agree or not with that position?

Well, it's not a legal position, but I'm of the opinion that if you're a member of an organization that, if it isn't democratic, at least has democratic forms (voting and such), then you are morally bound to uphold your obligations to that organization, even when the voting doesn't go your way. Either that, or you withdraw from the organization. You can't have it both ways.

The US is a member of the UN, and is honor-bound to uphold the decisions of the UN, and not bully other, smaller member nations when we don't get our way. If we can't live up to that, we should withdraw from the UN.

Of course, this is all my opinion, which is obviously not shared by the administration.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:01 AM on July 2, 2003


then you are morally bound to uphold your obligations to that organization, even when the voting doesn't go your way. Either that, or you withdraw from the organization. You can't have it both ways.

The old "if you don't like it, then leave" argument :) I remember some pro-war types using the same logic.
posted by jsonic at 8:14 AM on July 2, 2003


Let's see why - Anyone remember this one? That's the reason - as soon as the ICC opened, Americans started to be indicted. And since America isn't a signatory, how this international tribunal could gain jurisdiction over anyone who hasn't signed the treaty explicitly granting that power is beyond me. By what authority? By what right?

Fuzz, you're dead on.
posted by swerdloff at 8:17 AM on July 2, 2003


There's a certain irony in the US asking Serbia to sign a treaty saying that Serbia promises not to extradite US citizens to the ICC -- regardless of what the US citizen has done.

What kind of message is the United States trying to send out here?

If the ICC is a good idea, then it's a good idea for all countries, not just the ones we don't like. If the US has to spend time and money defending US citizens in front of the court because the US is large, rich and powerful, then that's just one of the costs of being the world's hyperpower. There are actually downsides to being at the top -- most specifically, it makes you a target.

If the purpose of the ICC is to punish the nations and people that lose wars, then we don't need the ICC. Victorious nations can punish the losers all on their own, just as they have been doing since there have been wars.
posted by Slothrup at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2003


jsonic :
The two are distinct in that the UN is an ageographic, voluntary "club." "If you don't like it leave" is a fine sentiment for a purely voluntary and unnecessary (as opposed to one's needing to live in some country) organization.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:31 AM on July 2, 2003


Postroad: the whole ICC discussion aside, it is still incredibly ironic to see the US Government right hand ignoring its left hand this way. The US has been escalating its military presence in Colombia for many years (so much that many South American countries were fearing an all-out Vietnam style war there - tropical jungle included) that pulling out now is almost equivalent to delivering the country to the marxist guerrilla and/or the drug lords. I am sure many other countries are in the same situation.

I will just add that the American position about the ICC is pretty ridiculous. The message is clear: "We are above right and wrong, good or evil". This is the same message the Bush government has been sending for a long time: Kyoto, X-Ray, Iraq ("Oh, no WMDs yet Condy? No, sir, but nevermind. There is plenty of oil for us to give to our friends and campaign finnancers..."). Just don't come crying how the world hates the United States when is backslashes...
posted by nkyad at 8:32 AM on July 2, 2003


The US has been escalating its military presence in Colombia for many years that pulling out now is almost equivalent to delivering the country to the marxist guerrilla and/or the drug lords.

Apparently, this decision only affects about $5 million of the $600 million slated for Columbia this year. You don't think we'll give up the War On Drugs (TM) that easily, do you?
posted by Slothrup at 8:40 AM on July 2, 2003


Ummm swerdloff: the link you posted concerns Belgian courts. They do have jurisdiction over Belgium. The story has nothing to do (except in a logically fallacious reasoning-by-stretched-analogy way) with the ICC (although the Fox "news" quote is crafted in such a way as to confuse the reader).
Despite the irrelevance of that story to the ICC tribunal, I just have to point out that the following paragraph:
"In America, many people consider Franks a hero. But in Europe, there are some who are branding him a war criminal."
could be re-written (and be absolutely valid) as follows:
"In Serbia, many people consider Mladic a hero. But in Western Europe, there are some who are branding him a war criminal."
That proves... what exactly?
posted by talos at 8:44 AM on July 2, 2003


The old "if you don't like it, then leave" argument :) I remember some pro-war types using the same logic.

Yeah, because the cases are exactly alike. Brilliant, jsonic.

Of course I'm not advocating that the US withdraw from the UN. (And we won't; among other benefits, the UN gave the administration a dandy pretext for invading Iraq with Resolution 1441.)

And the US isn't a dissident voice protesting the tyranny of the UN (to put it melodramatically). If the war protestors that the hawks were telling to "love it or leave it" had any least ability to mess with the destiny of the rest of the country, there might be some parallel.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:45 AM on July 2, 2003


Not that they would ever want me, but I do not recognize the International court as having any legitimate power over me. If my government recognized that court as being able to legally detain me, I would consider it a fundamental betrayal of my rights. Something no better than their other failures of trust at Camp Xray, and preemptive wars.

Simply put, my government cannot turn any US citizen over the ICC any more than they could turn them over to a drug lord or sell them into slavery. They are supposed to refuse.
posted by thirteen at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2003


but I do not recognize the International court as having any legitimate power over me I would consider it a fundamental betrayal of my rights.
In the US that's true. But commit a murder in Russia, say, and rest assured that you will be tried by a Russian jury and spend time in a Russian jail.
If you had commited genocide in Rwanda, you could and should be tried by the ICC.
This has nothing to do with your constitutional rights which are irrelevant outside your country.
posted by talos at 9:12 AM on July 2, 2003


13's answer begs the question of jurisdiction versus citizenship. Is it not the same betrayal if Cook county turned you over to Illinois? To the feds? The addition of another layer of liability does usurp some of the ideals of sovereignty and territorial integrity, but in my opinion it's an inevitable and proper trend. The ICC is a good idea because it gets around a rogue regime that can shield its citizens from justice -- much like what Serbia did througout the 1990s, for example -- and that goal ought to be lauded by a regime that has gone to war for that reason several times since the end of the cold war.

Instead, they're pushing for a double standard that seems to be premised on the notion that the US sets the standard for morality and therefore that we ought to be protected from the application of that morality by outside forces. It's a shameful stance, I think.
posted by norm at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2003


If you had committed genocide in Rwanda, you could and should be tried by the ICC.

I can certainly accept the idea that Russia will try me for a Russian crime. I can accept that I can be extradited to Russia for that crime. What I cannot figure is why my crime in Rwanda is not left to a Rwandan court. The ICC is a third part to which I am not a subject (as I would be to Cook county, or my state) and it is not the injured party. Perhaps if Rwanda is a member of this court there may be some cause for them to want me, but if my government joins this court and is willing to let me be taken by it, they have discharged some of their obligation towards me. Why should the US join a world court when we have courts of our own. Other countries will not send criminals who face the death penalty to the US. I do not see this as much different. The court weakens sovereignty.
posted by thirteen at 9:35 AM on July 2, 2003


The US attitude to the ICC seems to me to be part of their increasing attitude of unilateralism in foreign policy. Whilst the Iraq war could well herald a period of activity, contempt for the UN (look at the reticience in using it at all prior to Iraq), refusal to ratify heaps of global treaties (Kyoto, landmines etc) seems to indicate that any activity will be solely on the US' terms. I'm not in any way an American-bashing nut - but I am starting to be quite concerned.

World opinion? We won't need no world opinion someday soon....
posted by y2karl at 9:43 AM on July 2, 2003


"What I cannot figure is why my crime in Rwanda is not left to a Rwandan court. "

Why should Rwanda not use any court it chooses, or refer the matter to an international court if it so wishes?

" The court weakens sovereignty."

Like The Hague, I suppose?
posted by Blue Stone at 9:47 AM on July 2, 2003


Why should Rwanda not use any court it chooses, or refer the matter to an international court if it so wishes?
I addressed that in the next sentence.

Like The Hague, I suppose?
I do not consider it a legitimate court, nor would I consider the Nuremburg court in it's day. Most international bodies have no authority that I am willing to submit to. I would be subject to foreign law when I am in their country, but an international court means nothing. It is not accountable in a way that I consider legitimate.
posted by thirteen at 10:02 AM on July 2, 2003


I for one, am glad the US will stop financing one side of the war in Colombia. Now if it would only stop financing the other side, that would be great!
posted by signal at 10:02 AM on July 2, 2003


What I cannot figure is why my crime in Rwanda is not left to a Rwandan court.

The easiest answer is that there were are no properly constituted and functioning Rwandan courts. Criminal laws function because the community as a whole is offended or threatened by certain conduct. Illinois takes an interest in murder cases because it is their responsibility to ensure that murders don't happen and if they do, to punish the perpetrators. Similarly, the world community has been formulating a consensus for x number of years that certain practices in war are offensive to the world community. The ICC is an outgrowth of that consensus and exists to hold responsible people whose acts are so heinous it offends the world's sensibilities.

If national courts worked for this purpose, there would be little need for the ICC and certainly no impetus for the diplomatic wrangling that has resulted in the court's creation.

The criticism about the court weakening sovereignty is spot-on. Yet, sovereignty is not a magical concept, nor are county, state, or national borders. Local zoning laws are a weakening of personal sovereignty. Many state regulations check local sovereignty. Many national laws check state sovereignty. And so on.
posted by norm at 10:04 AM on July 2, 2003


Many national laws check state sovereignty. And so on.

A lot of the people who are against the ICC don't have a single complaint about NAFTA, even though, by signing NAFTA, the US Federal Government gave away many of your rights -- including the right of your local government to regulate the use of a gasoline additive.

Are you concerned about this loss of your sovereignty?
posted by Slothrup at 10:31 AM on July 2, 2003


I will respond to Norm later. For now, I was and am opposed to Nafta, even tho I may consider some of the restrictions within the states to be opressive. In choosing between the loss of choice (as a country) and tarrifs (etc.) I would choose the lesser evil.
posted by thirteen at 10:39 AM on July 2, 2003


Well, I kinda like this whole thing... although not for the reasons other Merikans might accept.

For decades now, the American Government Stipend has been used as a carrot to foreign governments to bribe their wills to ours. Take that away, and those countries may go through withdrawl, but at least at that point they are their own countries again, capable of acting independently of US monetary control.

I'd be thrilled silly if every country in the planet tore up their US checks, and said, "No - we're doing this Our way now, and we Will call you when you pull BS." As a US taxpayer, a lot more of my cash stays home to do some good here, and the world will be in a better position to check this carnivorous juggernaut we call an International policy.
posted by Perigee at 10:55 AM on July 2, 2003


Oops.
posted by swerdloff at 10:57 AM on July 2, 2003


Here's an idea, let's see the ICC do something worthwhile in the world. OK, so you can't nail G Bush. Is there anyone else in the world breaking the international "law"? Honestly, the US isn't going to join, and until the ICC has done single solitary thing other than organize its bureaucratic niceties the US isn't going to get any more likely to join. It is this obsession with US recalcitrance rather than actual results that makes the internationalists look silly. Is the US the big target of the ICC? If so, then boo hoo, if not, then just do it without us.

And honestly, I'm not a right-winger or a nationalist. I think that it would be great if other forces stepped up in the world and challenged the US in a positive way (rather than the cold war that was mentioned above).
posted by Wood at 11:01 AM on July 2, 2003


Is the US the big target of the ICC?

No, though the ICC is a big target of the US.

If so, then boo hoo, if not, then just do it without us.

Well, since it's not so, then why can't the US stop strong-arming the rest of the world into doing the 'without' with them?

It's quite interesting to see the long arm of US jurisdiction extend in several areas (for instance, issues of copyright) and it's quite revealing to see how many people assume that US legal precedent should be a baseline for global practice.

What I cannot figure is why my crime in Rwanda is not left to a Rwandan court.

Funny, the ICC has thought about this one, and comes down on your side. The Rome statute is explicit about using local jurisdiction wherever possible. The ICC is only meant to be invoked in cases where local jurisdiction cannot be sought: for instance, if a state either lacks an independent judiciary or has no working judiciary at all:

Without doubt, the most important principle of the Statute of Rome is that the Court complements national jurisdictions and that it may only exercise its jurisdiction if the States concerned are unable or unwilling to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes which fall within the competence of the Court.

(i.e. norm's point.)

Most international bodies have no authority that I am willing to submit to.

You're already bent over and submitting, thirteen, and there's nothing you can do about it, so the best you can do is open that jar of Vaseline.
posted by riviera at 11:43 AM on July 2, 2003


With the US the only bully in the locker room, what does the rest of the world have to focus their opinions? Maybe if there were more women in the gym the US temper would be smoother. ehehe

It stands to reason the money should be revoked. Shift the funds to countries that want to ally with the US. Simple political principal of carrot and stick. New question is who else needs the money and is willing to pander to the US to get it?
posted by xtian at 11:46 AM on July 2, 2003


thirteen said: Most international bodies have no authority that I am willing to submit to.

Well, I don't blame you - nobody wants to submit to any authority when they commit a crime. But that's not up to you. If you commit a crime, then the jurisdiction in which you reside will try and sentence you; it's pretty much out of your hands at that point.

What I cannot figure is why my crime in Rwanda is not left to a Rwandan court.

If there are competent courts in Rwanda willing and able to prosecute criminals, they'll do so. If you had actually read anything from the article or the links people have posted to the ICC website, you'll notice that they can't and won't claim jurisdiction if local authorities decide to pursue the matter. From the ICC FAQ, question 5:

The International Criminal Court will complement national courts so that they retain jurisdiction to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

If a case is being considered by a country with jurisdiction over it, then the ICC cannot act unless the country is unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate or prosecute.

posted by RylandDotNet at 1:01 PM on July 2, 2003


It is this obsession with US recalcitrance rather than actual results that makes the internationalists look silly.

It is the US recalcitrance that has derailed any other debate about the court. If the Bush administration had not declared that it was pulling out of the treaty, we would not be having this discussion now.

If, several years into the lifespan of the court, things had gone as poorly as the naysayers had feared; if Americans were being targeted for prosecution for political reasons; if the court wasn't doing any work of value, then we could be having a discussion about whether or not it was worthwhile, or if the United States should withdraw. To have that discussion now is premature and meaningless.

The problem is that the people who made this decision believe that, on principle, the United States should not have to answer to anyone else. Ever. The other considerations are just a smokescreen.
posted by Slothrup at 1:03 PM on July 2, 2003


You're already bent over and submitting, thirteen, and there's nothing you can do about it

I think the fact that I am complaining is proof enough that I am not submitting. I will agree to being almost powerless in this regard. I can only hope that my basic freedoms remain intact.

Rykand: I think I made it pretty clear that I accept the idea of crime and punishment, but if it will make a single one of you happy I will cop to it again. Crime = punishment by an authority. Great. Covered it with the Russia thing, but still. One more time. People who commit crimes, if caught, are punished by the law of the land. I never said different.

And I did read the link. The passage quoted is a point of disagreement. If something is not illegal here, how can my government give me up to an alien court to which I have no allegiance? I know they could just decide to do it, but being as they are not going to, why should I feel bad about this I let the given examples be genocide, but that is not really what I am afraid I am going to be charged with. My concern is that basic rights are going to be stripped from me without a debate or a vote. Giving in to this court is as bad as anything in the Patriot Act. The ICC has no more legitimate authority than I created the "13 Legislative Body International" How willing would the EU be if I request they send their citizens to be judged by me.

Norm is my buddy, and we talked through our bit offsite.
posted by thirteen at 2:48 PM on July 2, 2003


If something is not illegal here, how can my government give me up to an alien court to which I have no allegiance?

I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you asking if ICC will prosecute you for something that isn't illegal in your home country? I would guess probably not. If I'm reading it correctly, ICC is pretty much by definition a court of last resort, to prosecute war crimes, genocide, and the like. I don't understand why your government would "give you up to an alien court" if you hadn't broken any laws.

The ICC has no more legitimate authority than I created the "13 Legislative Body International" How willing would the EU be if I request they send their citizens to be judged by me.

I think the EU would be perfectly willing to send citizens to you to be judged, provided you had as much authority and credibility as the UN Security Council, who created the ICC, and also provided that your mandate covered whatever said citizen was charged with, and if no competent court in the EU could prosecute said citizen themselves (which seems unlikely to me). This isn't Bob's War Crimes Court and Bait Shop, man, it's the freakin' United Nations. The UN is hardly a body with a history of arbitrarily detaining or prosecuting citizens of sovereign nations for insufficient cause. I think I read somewhere that part of the UN's mandate is to prevent that kind of thing. The only country I've heard of doing that lately is the US.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:31 PM on July 2, 2003


Not much is being made here of some of what I heard reported about this move: (1) some countries such as NATO allies are exempted, (2) as far as Colombia goes "anti-narcotic" aid will not be affected. Don't get me wrong—these points probably make this decision more cynical, hypocritical, and despicable.

I'm not without some sympathy with the purpose, but the ham-handed diplomacy is just one more chapter in the distressing saga of what we can only wish were foreign-affairs ineptitude on the Bushies' part. Like tax cuts, it's the "dismantle the system first, let our enemies come along and ask questions about the wreckage later" policy...
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:04 PM on July 2, 2003


I'm looking forward to being a member of the only generation in American history whose President was actually worred about being tried as a war criminal (never mind being actually tried as a war criminal.)

Sheesh.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:39 PM on July 2, 2003


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