Remember When The US Threatened To Arrest ICC Judges If They Pursue Americans For War Crimes

US threatens to arrest ICC judges
US threatens to arrest ICC judges if they pursue Americans for crimes

The US’s Arrogance and Corruption Towards ICC Reveals Hypocrisy in Pursuing War Crime Allegations Against Putin

As the saying goes, “the fish rots from the head down,” and the stench of corruption emanating from the United States in its dealings with the International Criminal Court (ICC) is no exception. Five years ago, the US threatened to jail and sanction ICC judges who dared to bring charges of war crimes against American soldiers in Afghanistan. Now, the US is applying pressure on the ICC to bring charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the world of international justice, the United States of America has long claimed to be a force to be reckoned with. But recent developments have exposed the hypocrisy and arrogance of the US in their attitude towards the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On one hand, the US has been quick to push the ICC to bring war crimes allegations against Russian President Putin. But when it comes to their own actions, they threaten to arrest ICC judges and impose sanctions on them if they dare raise issues of war crimes against the US.

This blatant double standard is not only hypocritical but also undermines the rule of law and the credibility of the ICC. The US cannot expect the ICC to be a legitimate institution if they only support it when it serves their interests.

In 2018 the then White House National Security Advisor John Bolton called the Hague-based rights body “unaccountable” and “outright dangerous” to the United States, Israel and other allies, and said any probe of US service members would be “an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation.”

“If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said.

He said the US was prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any Americans.

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans,” he said.

ICC prosecutors asked for the court to open an investigation into alleged war crimes carried out by Afghan security forces, Taliban and Haqqani militants as well as US troops and intelligence forces who were in Afghanistan since 2003. The US personnel are accused of illegal imprisonment and torture. 

Bolton made the comments in a speech in Washington to the Federalist Society, a powerful association of legal conservatives.

Investigation into detainee abuse

Bolton pointed to an ICC prosecutor’s request in November 2017 to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by the US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, especially over the abuse of detainees.

Neither Afghanistan nor any other government party to the ICC’s Rome Statute has requested an investigation, Bolton said.

He said the ICC could formally open the investigation “any day now.”

He also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton said.

“We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We certainly will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own.”

No International Criminal Court for US war crimes.

The Hague act.
A US law supposedly protecting U.S. servicemembers from the International Criminal Court.
U.S. President George Bush signed th3 act into law the American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002, which is intended to intimidate countries that ratify the treaty for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The law authorises the use of military force to liberate any American or citizen of a U.S.-allied country being held by the court, which is located in The Hague. This provision, dubbed the “Hague invasion clause,” has caused a strong reaction from U.S. allies around the world, particularly in the Netherlands.  
In addition, the law provides for the withdrawal of U.S. military assistance from countries ratifying the ICC treaty, and restricts U.S. participation in United Nations peacekeeping unless the United States obtains immunity from prosecution. At the same time, these provisions can be waived by the president on “national interest” grounds.  

SEC. 2008. of the Act authorizes the President of the U.S. “to use all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any person described in subsection (b) who is being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”. The subsection (b) specifies this authority shall extend to “Covered United States persons” (members of the Armed Forces of the United States, elected or appointed officials of the United States Government, and other persons employed by or working on behalf of the United States Government) and “Covered allied persons” (military personnel, elected or appointed officials, and other persons employed by or working on behalf of the government of a NATO member country, a major non-NATO ally including Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Argentina, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand).

‘Threat’ to US sovereignty

The condemnation of the ICC added to the White House’s rejection of many supranational institutions and treaties the president does not believe benefit the United States.

Bolton also condemned the record of the court since it formally started up in 2002, and argued that most major nations had not joined.

The US hypocrisy of this position is mind-boggling. The US has long been a vocal opponent of the ICC, citing concerns over jurisdiction and bias against American interests. But when it comes to pursuing its own interests, the US is quick to use the ICC as a tool to go after its rivals. This kind of double standard is not only morally bankrupt but also undermines the legitimacy of the court itself.

What’s more, the US’s actions show a complete disregard for the victims of war crimes and their families. By refusing to be held accountable for its own actions, the US denies these individuals the justice they deserve. This goes against the very principles of justice and the rule of law that the ICC was established to uphold.

The corruption inherent in the US’s approach to the ICC is clear. The US is attempting to use its position of power to shield itself from accountability while using the court to pursue its own interests against its rivals. This sets a dangerous precedent for other nations to follow and undermines the credibility of international institutions.

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