N O T E F R O M THE EDITOR
Many of you have heard about how certain government officials in Nicaragua and Venezuela could face criminal charges in the International Criminal Court. But do most of you really know what the Court is about? Here I share an article by investigative journalist James Corbett that will provide you with some good light and learning about this world body of “justice”
by James Corbett
As a well-known adage holds: “To the victor go the spoils.” But it might well add: “Meanwhile, the losers go to the gallows.” This is the logic of vic- tor’s justice. It is the logic of the Treaty of Versailles, which demanded unpay- able reparations from the vanquished German nation.
It is the logic of the To- kyo War Crimes Tribunal, where perpetrators of war crimes pronounced judgement on the war crimes of the defeated. It is the logic of Abu Ghraib, where the US military tortured and killed its enemy captives.
Throughout human history, victorious nations have gone too far in exacting revenge from their defeated foes. The entire notion of “international law”—from the Geneva Conventions to the International Law Commission to the International Criminal Court—has been sold to the public as a check against this unfortunate tendency to impose victor’s justice on the fallen. But just as history is written by the winners, so, too, is justice decided by the victors, and the case of the International Criminal Court is the prime example of that. Think of international war crimes in the recent era and what comes to mind? America’s wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan based on premeditated lies about weapons of mass destruction and 9/11? The indefinite detention of captives at Camp X-ray, Guantanamo, or other military prisons that resulted from those illegal wars? Israel’s use of white phosphorous.
in its 2009 massacre of civilians in Gaza? Saudi Arabia’s campaign of genocide in Yemen (made possible by Uncle Sam’s unwavering support)? Well, let’s compare that list of violations of interna- tional law to the list of “situ- ations” that the International Criminal Court has inves- tigated since its formation in 2003. Notice anything? Like how not a single one of those glaring war crimes we just noted are anywhere on the list? Or how every single one of those inves- tigations (save one) tar- geted an African conflict? No justice for Afghanistan. No justice for Iraq. No justice for Palestine. No justice for Yemen. No justice for any victims of any Western-allied aggression. Make no mistake: These “omissions” are not by accident but by design. The most recent demonstration of this fact—as if another demonstration were needed—came late last month when senior ICC judge Christoph Flüg- ge resigned in disgust over American meddling with the court’s activities. Actually, “meddling” is the way many of the headline writers chose to frame America’s interference with the ICC,
but that word doesn’t quite do justice to the situation, if you’ll pardon the pun. Let’s put it as plainly as possible: Judge Flügge resigned because the US had directly threatened ICC judges and prosecutors for even threatening to look into the possibility that Americans had violated international law in Afghanistan. I k n o w, I k n o w : You need a minute to recover from this shock. The story starts in 2017, when the ICC’s chief prosecutor conducted a preliminary investigation into US war crimes in Afghanistan, finding “a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity” were committed in the country by US military personnel. Logically, the prosecutor followed up by announcing that she would formally request an investigation by the ICC into the charges. Apparently, this particular prosecutor hadn’t received the memo that the ICC is only to be used to prosecute African despots in kangaroo courts, and that Americans are off limits. To make sure that everyone did have the memo, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, hand delivered it during his very first speech after joining the Trump administration. “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” he warned, adding “we will fight back” against the ICC. And then, just in case the message wasn’t quite clear enough, he added: “We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will