ICC to Intervene in Libya, what about American aggression?
It has been reported that the United States has given its support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Libyan leader Mohammar Gaddafi as a war criminal. In giving their support the government of the U.S. has painted Gaddafi into a corner, leaving little in the way of options besides fighting it out in the streets and towns of Libya.
Yet there has been nothing in the news of referring United States Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama to the same court for war crimes inflicted upon the civilian population of Afghanistan and Iraq. Although it has been widely known and confirmed that Untied States has committed some of the worst crimes against humanity in the aggressive occupation of both countries.
The United States is not a member of the ICC in fact George Bush was quoted as saying “I didn't join the International Criminal Court because I don't want to put our troops in the hands of prosecutors from other nations. Look, if somebody has done some wrong in our military, we'll take care of it. We got plenty of capability of dealing with justice.” However his predecessor Barack Obama has shown support for using the ICC to try and force the Libyan leader to back down from aggressive behavior toward rebel factions in his country. Yet, when it comes to becoming a member of the court and abiding by the Rome Statute, the U.S. has been standoffish and with good reason. Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama would then have to stand trial for and most likely be prosecuted for violating almost every provision in the statute.
According to their website, “The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.”
The court was established on 17 July 1998, the international community of 120 states adopted the Rome Statute, which established the legality for the ICC. The United States has continually showed great support for the establishment and implementation of the court for foreign countries but has had little interest in following under its laws and regulations for itself.
The ICC has established the authority over the crime of genocide, being described by article II of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) as; “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." As well as crimes against humanity defined by the Rome Statute in its Explanatory Memorandum as, “particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Isolated inhumane acts of this nature may constitute grave infringements of human rights, or depending on the circumstances, war crimes, but may fall short of falling into the category of crimes under discussion."
War crimes are defined by the statute as, “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health, extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile power, willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement, taking of hostages.”
The Crime of Aggression, according to Customary International Law and resulting out the Nuremberg Trials was defined thusly, "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." It is the practice of indiscriminant conquest of other nations or the facilitation of regime changes with the intent of placing in power a person that is “friendly” to the Nation applying force.
There are countless confirmed reports of the United States government perpetrating almost all of these crimes in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The latest incident is that of nine children gathering firewood near their home in Kabul, Afghanistan. Only one of the children survived the attack by U.S. lead NATO forces. Gen. David H. Petraeus did apologize to the people of Afghanistan and the parents of the children however this was only after there was public outcry from Afghanistan officials and does little to stop the proliferation of events such as these.
The United States has become the purveyor of some of the most heinous crimes against humanity the world has ever known. Operating with absolute impunity they have systematically destroyed any credibility they are once thought to have had. This in turn has caused the American people to be put at risk. Whether traveling abroad or here at home it is the people of America that suffer the consequences of aggressive policies toward other nations, not the politicians that support such policies. They are guarded by institutions such as the Secret Service (and others) that are funded by our tax dollars. But the everyday Americans are left to their own defenses.
It is the hypocrisy of the U.S. foreign policy, and its aggressive means of implementation of these policies, that have sullied the reputation and honorable standing of America in the eyes of the rest of the world. As Dr. Dahlia Wasfi so elegantly put in here address to the Socialism 2007 conference Chicago, June 16, 2007 and many addresses since, “to the rest of the world we are the terrorists.”