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Protoclown Protoclown is offline
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 11:19 PM        International War Crimes Court Is Inaugurated, but w/o US
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2003Mar11.html

International War Crimes Court Is Inaugurated, but Without U.S.

By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Foreign Service.
Wednesday, March 12, 2003; Page A18


THE HAGUE, March 11 -- The world's first permanent war crimes tribunal was inaugurated today in this Dutch seat of government, despite efforts by the Bush administration to hamper its creation and exempt Americans from its provisions.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan presided as 18 international judges of the International Criminal Court took the oath of office at a ceremony before Queen Beatrix and international dignitaries representing some of the 89 countries that back the court's establishment. Notably absent was an official representative of the United States, although the U.S. Embassy is located two blocks from the 13th-century grand hall where the ceremony took place.

The court is the culmination of a concept that had its genesis in the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II, and that gained currency recently during ongoing tribunals created to consider charges of genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

"For centuries, and especially in the last century, [the world's] conscience has been shocked by unspeakable crimes -- crimes whose victims were counted not in the tens, but in tens of thousands, even in millions," Annan said. With the establishment of the court, he said, "persons who are tempted or pressured to commit unspeakable crimes must be deterred by the knowledge that they will one day individually be called to account."

A 1998 accord, known as the Rome Treaty, established the International Criminal Court and was ratified by the United States during the Clinton administration. But President Bush withdrew U.S. support, expressing concern that an independent court could be used for frivolous or politically based prosecutions of American citizens.

A senior U.S. official said that the precise case of an impending and unpopular U.S. invasion of Iraq was the kind of situation in which there were concerns about international court proceedings. "Sometimes the U.S. has to do things and people don't agree with it," said the senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We don't want a politically motivated prosecution to result from that."

In the event of a war in Iraq, there was also a possibility of charges against Saddam Hussein, who is accused by the United States, Britain and other countries of war crimes in his own country. U.S. officials have suggested a special tribunal inside Iraq would try Hussein and other Iraqis accused of such crimes after a U.S.-led invasion.

While Clifford Sobel, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, did not attend the ceremony here, David Scheffer, the former U.S. ambassador for war crimes during the Clinton administration, was present. Scheffer signed the Rome Treaty on behalf of the United States.

Since abrogating the Clinton administration's signature last year, the Bush administration has persuaded 24 countries to sign bilateral agreements with the United States, pledging not to surrender to the court U.S. nationals or foreigners working under U.S. contract. The U.S. Congress has passed legislation authorizing the president to take "all means necessary" to free Americans taken into custody by the court.

Human rights activists say the bilateral agreements pressed by the United States risked undermining a core founding principle of the court -- that no one is immune from prosecution for war crimes.

"The real objective is to try to undermine the legitimacy of the court by creating a two-tiered standard of justice -- one for Americans and foreign nationals working for the United States, and another for everyone else," said Richard Dicker of the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch.

Dicker dismissed Bush administration concerns about unfounded prosecutions. He said tribunal rules contain sufficient safeguards -- including the power of the U.N. Security Council to halt any prosecution by unanimous vote. Prosecutors also must obtain the approval of a three-judge panel before launching any prosecution, to avoid "unbridled prosecutorial discretion," Dicker said.

Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said in a telephone interview tonight, "Our views on the International Criminal Court are well known." He said the United States was concerned about the court having jurisdiction over citizens of countries that had not signed the Rome Treaty, and "we are particularly concerned about the potential for politically motivated prosecutions in the framework of this court."

Boucher added, "We respect the right of other nations to become parties, but ask that they respect our right not to do so."

China and Russia have not signed the Rome Treaty, meaning that three of the five permanent members of the Security Council are not participating in the court. The European Union today, however, hailed the establishment of the court.

The international court is scheduled to begin considering 200 complaints already filed sometime this year. A chief prosecutor and staff are to be selected during a meeting of Rome Treaty countries here next month. There is hope for a consensus choice for prosecutor, but none has emerged yet, and Annan alluded to the highly sensitive nature of that choice in lending the court legitimacy in the face of U.S. opposition.

"The importance of that function can hardly be exaggerated," Annan said. "The decisions and public statements of the prosecutor will do more than anything else to establish the reputation of the court."

"It is therefore vital that a person of the highest caliber be found to undertake that grave responsibility," Annan said. "This surely is a time to set aside national interests and focus exclusively on the qualifications of the individual candidates."
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Zero Signal Zero Signal is offline
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 11:34 PM       
Hah. If the US had joined it, then many of the government's top official could easily be brought to trial for war crimes.

Figures they wouldn't accept it.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 03:11 AM       
This brought me to a new realization about the Bush administration. I mean, a lot of people accuse him/them of slowly taking a stab at world domination by declaring war on the Axis of Evil, scrapping all sorts of treaties and defying the international community over and over again. But what Bush really just wants is to no longer owe responsibility to anyone but himself. He doesn't want to rule and occupy the world - he just wants to be the dog that barks the loudest. America no longer being one of the boys, but more like the big brother that the little kids come to when they're out of ideas. Gone with the treaties and international laws and back to the relations of 30-40 years ago.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 03:15 AM       
im not sure, but part of the presidents logic may come from the blatant anti-americanism in most countries of the world right now, since that seems to be trendy at the moment...or i could be completely off.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 03:24 AM       
I can understand that, but the thing is, being part of the international community - maybe even the international democracy - is about trust, too. Trusting that the law is abided and no country gets the chance to screw over another. Even though organizations like the UN have its (fair) share of corruption, I don't believe it would be possible for people to be convicted before this court if they weren't guilty.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 03:35 AM       
maybe.

however, i dont think that a project of this magnitude can really put aside all its biases, preconceptions, and national interests, at least not at this juncture. plus, a lot of regions and countries are moving away from each other ideologically, the US and europe for example, thereby destroying one of the few things that would give this court, and the UN, the cohesiveness it so desperately needs.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 12:49 PM       
Eye tie has a point, but I think it's shame in two seperate ways.

The first is the abbregation of Clinton's signature. This is not a Bush/Clinton thing I'm complaining about, it's setting the precedent and sending the signal that America's commitemnts should be seen as lasting no longer than the term of the current chief executive. It makes us less trustworthy on the national stage.

The second is that while a world court , like the UN would be flawed, it would be another international structure for conflict resolution short of war.

I also think, since crimes against humanity don't have a statue of limmitations, we are actively worried by the prospect of American Politicians (Kissinger first and foremost, but certainly not alone) might have to answer for some of the things we've done, particularly in South America. On a darker note, I think most administrations want to reserve the right to do this sort of thing again.

I think it's a sign of things to come that even without the US or Russai or China for that matter, much of the world is going ahead without us.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 01:26 PM       
I was reading a while back that most of the countries that are part of it signed under the condition that their own national courts hold precedent over the international court. Meaning, the Australian national court can over rule any judgements pertaining to Australians. This kind of takes the teeth out of it, so why should anyone agree to it?

Has this changed in the last year?
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 07:43 PM       


I AM THE LAW!!!!
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 08:15 PM       
Why can't we just let Sly rest in peace?
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 01:22 PM       
I could not be happier that we did not sign up to be a part of this sham of a court. All it will do is make our soliders liable for anything that the One World Govt deems is evil.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 01:29 PM       
You are so right.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 02:45 PM       
Yeah, he is.
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VinceZeb VinceZeb is offline
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 08:02 PM       
I know I am correct. Under the ICC, any one of us could be drug from our homes and tried in their courts.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 09:12 PM       
For what it's worth Vince, I happen to agree with most of what you said, with the natural exemption of the New World Order, One Word Gov't nonsense. And the dragged from our homes bit.

The court is a sham, and I don't believe any sovereign nation should consent to its judgement.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 09:24 PM       
Uh huh... and how many normal people have committed a crime that effects enough people to warrant being tried by humanity at large?

You won't be hauled off to international court for stealing cable or shoplifting.

It's pathetic that the U.S. sole reason for not joining this court is the fact that it would have to get it's booty ass off of it's self-placed pedestal and stoop to everyone else's level and act like an equal... but then, spreading democracy and equality is such a noble task, in'it?
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 10:36 PM       
The problem is that the UN/ICC and the rest of those groups wants a one world govt... look at the European Union.

AChimp, it has everything to do with the U.S. Equality is a pipe dream, belief in it is dillusion personafied especially when it comes to countries and cultures being equal. MANY countries have a ingrained biased against the U.S., and the ICC is just another way to try and push its views on the U.S. The EU in preticular want the US knocked down a peg or two so it can show that its holding-hands together govt is better than sovergn nations that stand on their own two legs. The ICC CAN take in anyone in a country that respects its authority if it sees fit. Now, imangine China, France and Germany are the main people on here.... do you think for one instant they wouldnt try to get some United States diplomats in there for a sham of a court trial? Please. I'm sorry if gove-ment skool edgeumacation has made the current new generation have a worldview of "multicultural equality" and "world govt justice", but it will not work. The only people that rule everything in the world are dictators or tryants. The U.S. is supreme to every country on the planet just by rep alone.... I mean, when is the last time you saw people braving death, starvation, and drowning just to have a chance to kiss Netherland soil?
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AChimp AChimp is offline
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 11:10 PM       
OH NO! And the U.S. doesn't try to push it's own views on any other countries? Look to yourself before you start throwing around accusations, you assgoblin.

Quote:
Now, imangine China, France and Germany are the main people on here.... do you think for one instant they wouldnt try to get some United States diplomats in there for a sham of a court trial?
Uh huh... is that any different from the U.S. holding Arabs for months and months without trial?

The international court is a separate entity from any country and wouldn't have a bias. What kind of crimes against humanity have U.S. diplomats committed against France, Germany and China lately? You've only pointed out those countries because they've been vocal in their opposition to a war on Iraq, so why are you concluding that they are out to get you?

Quote:
I mean, when is the last time you saw people braving death, starvation, and drowning just to have a chance to kiss Netherland soil?
I assume that you are referring to those poor fools that swim to Florida from Cuba. In case you haven't realized, if you are a Cuban wanting to leave Cuba, the first place you will chose to go is to the U.S., not just because the U.S. is a few hundred miles north, but because it's a long, cold trip to Canada by raft and Haiti isn't especially appealing, even by Cuban standards.

You see, that's what happens when First World countries have their fat ass sitting beside Third World countries. In physics, this is called gravity.
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 04:13 AM       
90 miles chimp, cuba is only 90 miles away...
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 05:42 AM       
I have to think, would this be the best of times to start an international war crime court, or the worst of times? Both given as a reason that the international community seems to be falling apart. Could this be effectjve as a last attempt at patching things up, or would it be fruitless before it's active?

Eitherway, I can't say I've seen much credible reason given for the US not joining this court - nothing but paranoia and hypocrisy, to be honest. Either people don't want the US to join because they fear that American officers will be put on trial for war crimes they actually committed, OR they think the international anti-American state of mind is so bad that innocent American civilians will be somehow abducted and actually convicted of crimes they didn't commit out of petty spite.

As ineffective as international organizations can be, I still don't believe they'd blatantly abuse their role or defy their own laws. But if the American government does not agree with me on that, then I guess the US has no place in this court.
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AChimp AChimp is offline
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 10:17 AM       
Bah. Stupid miles.
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 12:55 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceZeb
I could not be happier that we did not sign up to be a part of this sham of a court. All it will do is make our soliders liable for anything that the One World Govt deems is evil.
You mean we won't be able to murder children in cold blood and get away with it??

FUCK THAT!!! USA! USA! USA!
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 09:06 PM       
"You mean we won't be able to murder children in cold blood and get away with it??"

Choke down some Ritalin would you? Do you believe this is an accurate portrayal of how modern warfare is conducted? Do you believe the the Armed Forces advocate such actions or even condone them?
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 10:48 PM       
Do you really think we'd name our bombers things like "Baby Destroyer" if that wasn't the case?
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 10:57 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceZeb
The problem is that the UN/ICC and the rest of those groups wants a one world govt... look at the European Union.
The European was more so out of economic solidarity than anything else. It was more of a response to NAFTA and FTAA. So who really wants the "one world government," Mr. Clancy???

I think a global court is a good idea. We espouse democratic values not only at home, but abroad as well. We shouldn't be affraid to put our money (and the consequences of our actions) where our mouth is.
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