July 17, 2002
The American servicemen who flew an AC-130 and mistakenly bombed
dozens of civilians in remote Afghan villages last week can thank their
lucky stars that their Commander-in-Chief is George W. Bush, not Al
Gore. It doesn't take much flight of imagination to believe that the
angry Afghans would like to take their demands for punishment and
retribution to the new International Criminal Court (ICC).
Fortunately, President Bush UNsigned the ICC treaty that Bill
Clinton signed on New Year's Eve before he left office. Bush caused
our State Department to send a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan stating that "the United States does not intend to become a party
to the treaty" and "has no legal obligations arising from its
[Clinton's] signature on December 31, 2000."
But, say the ICC propagandists, this international court would act
only after the criminals' own country had refused to act. That
wouldn't save our AC-130 crew because the United States is certainly
not going to prosecute our pilots for a wartime mistake that
inadvertently caused civilian casualties.
The pompous bureaucrats in the Hague whose goal is to ratchet up
the ICC's power into some sort of world government, or at least a
European government, are asserting jurisdiction over us even though
Bush unsigned the treaty and our Senate never ratified it. They are
claiming jurisdiction over all UN and NATO peacekeeping forces.
That means jurisdiction over a United Nations contingent of 1,536
police officers, of whom 46 are Americans, now training a new Bosnian
police force. Also involved is a larger NATO peacekeeping operation
now functioning in Bosnia under a UN mandate, which includes 2,500
American soldiers, plus 14 other UN peacekeeping operations scattered
around the world.
President Bush has made it clear that U.S. troops must be exempted
from ICC prosecution or we aren't going to participate in peacekeeping
functions. Our so-called European friends are having undiplomatic
tantrums, and this issue comes to a head on July 15 when the temporary
extension of the Bosnian mandate expires.
The Bosnian operation is scheduled to be completely turned over to
the European Union in six months anyway. So why are the Europeans
making such a scene about keeping a handful of Americans there?
This face-off between friendly countries is not a military issue.
It's a worldview issue, a confrontation between the globalists and the
patriots who believe in national sovereignty.
According to the New York Times, the Europeans see the Americans
"as trying to undermine a prime example of the new world order, the
International Criminal Court, which was created to take action if local
authorities failed to prosecute especially heinous war crimes, human
rights violations or genocide." The European political bosses have
staked their future on the European Union and they want to throw a
harness around the United States and our deep pockets.
The Europeans are accusing America of a double standard: one set
of rules for the United States, another for the rest of the world. A
senior European diplomat at the UN said, "If the United States believes
it doesn't need to respect multilateralism and international rules, how
do you get China to respect them?"
President Bush should tell the rest of the world to get used to
the fact that Americans rank our sovereignty, our Constitution, and our
Bill of Rights guarantees ahead of multicultural international rules,
and we have no intention of submitting ourselves to inferior rules or
courts that might be acceptable to the Chinese or Europeans.
Kofi Annan says that politically motivated prosecution against the
U.S. is "highly improbable," but that's not good enough. Israel is too
smart to fall for such vague assurances, and we should be, too.
Congress passed legislation this summer to authorize military
action to free any American taken into custody. That's obviously not
right-wing paranoia since even Hillary Clinton voted for it.
The globalists have been trying to tell us that the ICC really
"supports American values" and "mirrors the Constitution." That's a
lot of poppycock.
Here are some U.S. constitutional protections against unfair
prosecutions that are violated by the ICC: (1) the right to trial by
an impartial jury of one's peers (the most important protection), (2)
the right to trial in the same jurisdiction where the offense was
committed, (3) the right to a speedy trial within months, not years,
(4) the right to a unanimous verdict for serious crimes, (5) the right
to confront witnesses (the ICC has key loopholes), (6) the obligation
to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense (the ICC lets the
prosecutor decide), and (7) no double jeopardy (the ICC is full of
The court is charged with prosecuting (yes, prosecuting as well as
adjudicating) genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and
aggression. Alas, terrorism is not one of the crimes.
Yale Law Professor Harold Koh calls the creation of the ICC "an
international Marbury versus Madison moment." What a brilliant
analogy! The ICC can be expected to grow in power just like the U.S.
federal judiciary, but the ICC won't have the U.S. Constitution to
impose any limits.
The Bush Administration should not only stand firm in demanding
exemption from the ICC for Americans. We should oppose in toto a
political show-trial court that violates basic rules of justice.