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It’s Time for the US to Leave the Dark Ages: The Case for ICC Participation

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In spite of the overt divisiveness that has come to characterize America’s political climate in recent months, there are still a select few topics that all people, no matter their individual political allegiances, can come to an agreement on. One such topic is the denial of impunity for people who commit various war crimes and human rights violations.

In response to this unspoken agreement on international moral standards, in 2002, the International Criminal Court was established to promote the primacy of normative standards and pursue anyone whose actions violate said standards. Since the creation of the ICC several war criminals have been held accountable for the deaths of innocent people. Since the creation of the ICC the United States has done everything in its power to derail the court’s mission.

The United States policy towards the ICC is antithetical to the narrative of a nation dedicated to human rights American diplomats tirelessly portray to foreign nations. The signing of the Rome Statute (the document that would make the U.S. a member nation of the ICC) by former President Clinton at the end of his term was promptly negated by former President Bush. This marked the beginning of the adversarial position the U.S. has taken against the court.

For eight long years the hypocrisy of America’s human rights advocacy while opposing the very court its allies are member nations of has weighed heavily on U.S. foreign policy. With the election of our current president the prospect of U.S. participation in the ICC seemed guaranteed. Unfortunately, as on so many other issues, President Obama remains hesitant on deviating from his predecessor’s policy.

Earlier this year Stephen Rapp, Ambassador–at–Large for War Crimes Issues, said that the United States was “unlikely to become a member of the International Criminal Court for the foreseeable future.” For the realists, who believe signing the Rome Statute will make U.S. citizens subject to the will of a foreign power, this is great news. But for the hundreds of millions of people, who are forced to cope with their human rights being violated on a regular basis, Rapp’s comments couldn’t be more dubious.

The president’s failure to realize the implications of an international legislative body legitimized by the support of the world’s sole superpower is disastrous for the promotion of human rights. Many war criminals brazenly carry out atrocities under the assumption that there will be no consequences. Should the U.S. lend its full support to the organization, would-be war criminals would be less inclined to commit such crimes. U.S. participation would act as a deterrent to human rights violations.

Unfortunately the prospects of U.S. participation are bleak. The president can’t ignore the conservative political reaction to joining the court. With the election a few days away, it’s understandable that the president is avoiding high political issues like the plague. That, coupled with the fact that a two thirds vote is required for the ratification of the Rome Statute and the Republicans are poised for major victories in both houses, means it will be quite some time before the idea of the U.S. becoming a member nation can even be legitimately entertained.

Whoever is president when this happens, they shouldn’t repeat the mistake our current president made by allowing bombastic political rhetoric to derail American foreign policy. If the United States truly prides itself on its commitment to human rights, it should step out of the dark ages and join the International Criminal Court.

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About Dean Stephens

  • Thank you for raising this issue at the present time. I believe the United States will under no circumstances join the International Criminal Court. The fundamental conflicts between the ICC and the U.S. Constitution, which you entirely fail to mention, are insurmountable. Moreover, the prospect of a foreign body passing judgment on members of our American military will never be accepted–and this is now more than a theoretical matter, given WikiLeaks’ release of top-secret documents allegedly describing war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    In any event, I question your assertion, “Should the U.S. lend its full support to the organization, would-be war criminals would be less inclined to commit crimes. U.S. participation would act as a deterrent to human rights violations.” What makes you suppose this would happen? Has there been a poll of would-be war criminals asking them whether U.S. membership would deter their human rights violations?

  • Interesting, a blogger is giving a student studying law a refresher course on the particulars of the constitution. Explain what article, amendment, or section of the United States constitution that contradicts the basic tenets of the ICC. Inquiring minds and all that.

  • Wikipedia has a discussion of the Constitutional incompatibility issue.

    But, hell, let’s say for the sake of discussion that those objections can be overcome. What about the other questions I raised?

  • Nothing else deters those who commit gross human rights violations and war crimes, why would the ICC?


  • Careful, Dave. You’re daring to question an actual LAW STUDENT.

  • STM

    It’s a load of bollocks. The ICC is an international body, not a body of the US political system, which means the constitutional argument against being part of it is erroneous.

    If you were to give any credence to the US argument, then you’s have to see the war crimes trials against Germany and Japan had no legal basis either, and therefore the US had no business taking part in them.

    It’s bollocks of the highest order; the truth is, it’s another case of the US believing it’s not answerable to anyone but itself.

    Whether the ICC will always live up to the perfectly reasonable expectation of fairly applied Anglo-American jurisprudence is another matter, though.

    Perhaps the key is there. International agendas hiding behind the application of law are still agendas.

  • Good point, Stan. But the Yanks are of the opinion that their constitution was written by a finger of God and is therefore inviolable. Talking about American exceptionalism, what more could you ask for.

  • STM, it’s a jurisdictional matter. If the U.S. Senate were to ratify America’s membership in the ICC, would the ICC in turn have jurisdiction over U.S. citizens–in particular, military service members–accused of war crimes? Since our Constitution guarantees due process to citizens accused of crimes under the American system of justice (i.e., in domestic courts, not foreign ones), this creates a fundamental conflict. Are you prepared to say that, were we to subject ourselves to the ICC, Americans would not be prosecuted by said court? If you can personally guarantee that result, I imagine chances for ratification of membership would be significantly enhanced.

  • OK Alan. First of all, I think everyone my age learned in the 7th grade that Wikipedia should not be used as an authoritative source of information.

    As for your other points in your initial comment, the ICC has evolved into a mechanism to prosecute war criminals of periphery nations. Even with the US backing them, the ICC would lack the teeth to prosecute war crimes of citizens in economically powerful nations (such as Europe and the US). So your argument that the US shouldn’t participate because it puts American citizens under the jurisdiction of a foreign court, is like me deciding not to go swimming because a shark might eat me (the chances of either things happening are incredibly small and do not warrant non participation).

    And as for my last point, anyone who believes that the full support of the most powerful military on the planet would do nothing to deter war crimes is incredibly naive.

    Also comment #5. We’re all adults here, can’t we do without the sarcasm?

  • What was good enough for Milosevic should be good enough for any head of state. We surely haven’t protested against the court of international tribunal in Hague. Consequently, the point of jurisdiction is a moot one as long are we’re prepared to apply it to sovereignties other than our own.

    But then again, hypocrites we’ve always been and lo and behold, therein marches Kurtz with his ingenious defense. “Might makes right,” he argues, and the jury is swept off their feet.

  • zingzing

    “it’s another case of the US believing it’s not answerable to anyone but itself.”

    it’s kinda hard to ask someone to give that up. who’s going to ask them? they’re obviously not going to listen.

    seriously, given the shit we pull, the icc is just pounding its collective head against a wall.

  • Re #9: just last Friday, 19-year-old college student Lucas Ransom was attacked and killed by a great white shark off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Who are you calling incredibly naive?

  • Re#12: Yaaaaaaay, everyone loves hyperbole. If that’s your response, I think I’ve made my case.

  • After we have successfully left the “Dark Ages” by becoming denizens of the ICC, we should seriously consider doing away with constitutional law altogether and either let other countries run our domestic affairs or allow Congress to simply make things up as it goes along. If there is a Congress at that point, of course.

    Talk about logical arguments.

  • STM

    Alan: “Since our Constitution guarantees due process to citizens accused of crimes under the American system of justice (i.e., in domestic courts, not foreign ones), this creates a fundamental conflict.”

    It creates no more of a conflict for the US government or US citizens than it does for other governments – especially those that are part of the anglo-American tradition of jurisprudence, and they are many – that have identical due process considerations in the application of their criminal justice systems.

    What you effectively saying is that an American’s constituitional right overrides the rights of other citizens of this planet not to have crimes committed against them.

    The one rider I would put on this is the make-up of the court. Due process is key, and if that could not be guaranteed and transparent, then I don’t anyone should be a part of it. Part of the problem with these kinds of international bodies is that there are often agendas, and the US and its friends like the UK and Australia are often the targets of those agendas.

    Neverthless, I still believe Americans attach too much importance to constitutional rights put in a document 200 years that were NOT snatched out of thin air but already existed in the colonies and were based on the laws of England (only the 9th amendment had no precurso in colonial common law, and there’s some debate about that too given parliament’s ability to change laws and to vote on new rights). Except in other nations that have or had most of these common laws, they have moved with the times, on such things as gun control.

    The due process passages of the constitution aren’t even American; they survive from the 1354 Statute of King Henry III, in a rewrite of the Magna Carta that added the words “due process” to protections against unjust trial or loss thereby of property and guarantees of life, liberty and freedoms.

    As was the Magna Carta, the US Constitution is simply a document written by men, not the holy grail or a tablet sent down by god from heaven to the American people. There is always room to move (as the 9th amendment points out if you study its exact wording and don’t read between the lines and find words that aren’t there).

    Even the founding fathers believed Americans would change it to suit a future society as they fit (as indeed they have).

    Relying solely on a 200-year-old piece of paper to make most of your decisions in this regard is follish in the extreme. Americans should probably have a good think about what the constitution is; and what it is not.

    Regardless, given America’s current standing in the world – and I don’t believe the America haters are on the side of the good guys – the US is right to be wary about the ICC.

    But it shouldn’t mean there should be a blanket refusal by the US to be a part of it. There is room for reflection on it, and the US should take the time to think about its global obligations and its responses and how it would all work if it did join.

    There is a tendency for Americans to see what others might see as world domination or empire building they as bringing freedom and democracy, and the American system of law and government as the fairest there is.

    It’s part of the myth of American exceptionalism and others don’t agree/ The Arabas have a saying about it: “You better be nice to the Americans, or they’ll bring you democracy”.

    Worth thinking about, especially as Americans and America, in a wold largely of its own making, no longer can afford to believe they live in a vacuum and that the standards applied by them to others don’t apply to Americans when the shoe is on the other foot.

  • STM

    And before you pick up on the typos, Al, which I already know about and which are simply a function of me being a 300mph two-finger typist, let’s get to the meat of the matter. I firmly believe in what I’ve written and honestly hold that the American-held myth of American exceptionalism holds the US back in a lot of areas and opens the US up to quite valid claims of hypocrisy.

    However, no one should mistake what I see as valid criticism for America-bashing or America-hating. I genuinely fall firmly into the opposite camp on that score.

    But as a citizen of a nation strongly allied with America for the best part of 100 years, and while I value that relationship, love the company of Americans and believe in the anglo-American tradition of law and democracy, I’m also convinced that my non-American viewpoint enables me to look a bit more objectively at America’s role in the world than most Americans do.

    If a citizen of one of your only real friends won’t tell you, who will?

  • I think Alan is shrewd enough to see America’s faults; if he doesn’t, then he’s a fool.

    So the likelihood is, he’s just being his old argumentative self, a side of his I’ve long learned to ignore.

    And I do hope, BTW, you’re not taking my solitary comment as an instance of “America’s bashing.” There are principles of higher conduct than those which issue from the mouths of self-serving, sovereign states. To deny such principles or to argue against their legitimacy is simply to insist on relativity of state-initiated conduct for the very reason that it’s protected by the sovereign status of the state. Which is to say, we can do such and such simply because we can.

  • zingzing

    stm: “America, in a wold largely of its own making, no longer can afford to believe they live in a vacuum and that the standards applied by them to others don’t apply to Americans when the shoe is on the other foot.”

    the problem is, from our perspective, there is no other foot. we don’t need to walk anywhere. we’re on top. there’s only down to go, and we ain’t going that way of our own volition.

    we have no readily identifiable reason to give a shit. such is the american condition. or so it’s been for quite some time. all our life and all our parents’ lives. maybe things are changing.

    but habits don’t bend, they’re broke. this idea that we should care what you (any you foreigners) think is new and won’t come easy. you’re really going to have to lead us on a political death march before it happens. stubborn people, we are.

    american exceptionalism may end up our only strength. what do you have to fight against it? irrational pride is a tough foe. can’t reason with it. can’t destroy it. it only gets stronger than it was.

    but we made this world, and we’ll unmake it if we have to. just you watch. you, world, are our bitches. if we can’t have you, we’ll blow your shit up. or shove you back inside us.

    america, your mother

  • STM

    I don’t know whether you half-serious or only half-joking here, zing.

    Come on, you know where I’m coming from on this. Exceptionalism has been the downfall of other empires … the Brits and the Soviets, most recently.

    You might be standing at less slippery spot on the moral high ground than the Reds, but you’re no less arrogant than the British and look what happened to them.

    At least they’ve come to terms with it, though.

    I wonder if America will do so that easily.

  • STM

    Rog: “And I do hope, BTW, you’re not taking my solitary comment as an instance of “America’s bashing.”

    No Rog, I don’t see you as an America basher. Like I say, criticism is always valid. I mostly agree with your view on this stuff.

  • Cannonshop

    Considering the failures of other supranational “governing” bodies, (the U.N. being a prime example) sacrificing sovereignty to an international tribunal that works in such an ad-hoc basis as the ICC isn’t a good idea.

    There’s a college student in prison in Italy right now, and even the prosecutors don’t believe their case-but the system in Italy does not require strict evidence requirements, nor does it require the level of disclosure required in U.S. systems. It strikes me that generally speaking the ICC doesn’t have the level of protections for the accused (or evidence requirements) that, say, a typical American small-claims court requires. Considering that I don’t personally see much chance that an ICC would NOT be used to score “Points” against the U.S. by playing combination Kangaroo-Court and Star Chamber…

    Thanks, I’ll take my barbaric system with its extensive appeals structure, strict “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” principles, and Habeas Corpus protections with extensive requirements for Evidence, and strict basic guideline requiring beyond-a-reasonable-doubt to convict (and Jury system.)

    I’d rather NOT be under Continental European rules, and we really do NOT need any MORE systems that over-ride our constitution, allowing the ruling bodies of foreign nations to decide that really, you don’t need all ten of those amendments…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cannonshop, what country in the world do you think has the highest documented incarceration rate per 100,000 citizens? Or what country in the world do you think has about 23% or so of the planet’s inmates but under 5% of the planet’s population?

    Is it the one with “strict evidence requirements” and “protections for the accused” and the “extensive requirements for evidence” and “Habeas Corpus protections (unless you’re a Muslim)?”

    Yes, yes it is.

    And what makes you think those dreaded “foreign nations” – oooh, scary, those bastards – want or care what you do with your “amendments?”

    C’mon. Your mighty fair and true justice system is throwing everyone and his/her dog in jail, man. Drug convictions, theft, vandalism, etc. are all tossing non-violent, non-threatening people in jail faster than you can say “We, the people.”

    I seriously doubt any Europeans are scrambling with jealousy over America’s justice system, I can tell you that. And do you really think those courts don’t rely on evidence and rule of law?

  • zingzing

    stm: “I don’t know whether you half-serious or only half-joking here, zing.”

    well, i was completely joking, but unfortunately serious. don’t think you’re telling me anything i don’t already know.

  • Cannonshop

    Jordan, it’s the difference between a conviction that can be appealed, and a system where conviction has more to do with what your President’s popularity overseas might be.

    Our system’s not perfect, but it’s got built-in safeties that don’t exist in ICC style tribunals, and it’s largely apolitical.

    Given that we have some poor choices in terms of sentencing, and that it IS imperfect, it is, at least, somewhat less vulnerable to political fashions.

    I’m rather less inclined to accept an “over system” that is governed by “Amerika the Great Satan” thinking, thanks.

  • Cannonshop

    To put it in a current-era example, Jordan, there’s an American girl in prison right now in Italy-not because she was GUILTY, but because she is AMERICAN.

  • What you [are] effectively saying is that an American’s constitutional right overrides the rights of other citizens of this planet not to have crimes committed against them.

    STM (#15), I flatter myself that I’m a skillful writer who can express my own thoughts. You have no call telling everyone what I am “effectively” saying. That’s your spin, STM, and bears no resemblance to what I wrote.

    You also presumptuously give us a lesson in the origins of constitutional law, as if because we are Americans, we’re naturally ignorant of such learned things. Moreover, you make a wholly unwarranted leap from the specifics of this ICC discussion to your usual rant about “the myth of American exceptionalism,” falsely accusing us of believing that we “live in a vacuum.”

    With superciliously pontificating friends like you, STM, America doesn’t need enemies.

  • zingzing

    “To put it in a current-era example, Jordan, there’s an American girl in prison right now in Italy-not because she was GUILTY, but because she is AMERICAN.”

    really? they lock up those italian guys because they were american as well? i’m pretty sure she’s in prison because she was party to a murder. whether she did it or not is up for question, but being an american in italy isn’t a crime, far as i know.

  • P. Venkman

    Cannon, the prosecuting atty had a little more than that, like the body being found with Amanda Knox’s bloody fingerprint on her face.

    Sounds like you don’t know squat about the case

  • It’s beyond me why Cannonshop (#21) raised Amanda Knox in this context, and further mystifying why zingzing (#27) and P. Venkman (#28) have taken up that matter. The context, please recall, is the ICC. Ms. Knox, an American student attending the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy, was convicted of murder, sexual assault and obstruction of justice in an Italian court. She was not charged with a war crime. Her case therefore relates not at all to the ICC. Talk about irrelevant!

  • zingzing

    i took it up because it was profoundly stupid. that said, it’s perfectly in line with the context, which was about foreign bodies having legal powers over american citizens. cannonshop said that she was jailed by italians merely for being an american. that, while stupid, and not a war crime, is not irrelevant to the conversation at hand.

    also, do you excuse yourself from the supposed irrelevance?

  • Talk about logical arguments.

    Says Joseph Cotto in #14, immediately after presenting a flawless example of the Slippery Slope fallacy.


  • doug m.

    What’s irrelavent is your opinion on what is relevant.

  • Since my objection as to relevancy has been so rudely overruled by court of Blogcritics opinion, I guess I now have enough wiggle room to mention the so-called “Save our State” constitutional amendment appearing on all Oklahoma ballots next Tuesday. Its was motivated partly by a New Jersey case in which the judge refused to issue a restraining order against a husband who repeatedly raped his wife, ruling that the man was abiding by his Muslim beliefs (Sharia) regarding spousal duties. Another impetus for Oklahoma’s proposed amendment was the testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan during her June confirmation hearings, saying she’d be willing to consider international law when deciding cases before the high court.

    No doubt the court of Blogcritics opinion will dismiss this as the latest crackpot paranoia from a state that doesn’t really count anyway, since who on earth would want to live there. But it’s possible, just possible mind you, that this is the tip of an iceberg. As Sharia and international law increasingly infest our American legal system, we may see more such reaction. I certainly hope so.

  • zing zing,
    you don’t get the point of the article. the Icc is about convicting those who commit war crimes or crimes against humanity. How many americans do you know who commit those kind of crimes? and if an american does commit a war crime, especially one against another nation, the issue of them being an American becomes moot.
    And I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I agree with Alan Kurtz. The argument of about an american in an italian jail who committed a crime in italy, is completley irrelevant.

  • STM

    You also presumptuously give us a lesson in the origins of constitutional law, as if because we are Americans, we’re naturally ignorant of such learned things.

    That’s your take on it, not mine. You spoke about the importance of constitutional law as it applies to Americans through the application of the criminal justice system.

    To me it sounds like American exceptionailism, and if I choose to back up my arguments by pointing out a few things a lot of Americans don’t know about their own laws, well and good.

    I always feel when I’m dealing with Americans like you Al that you don’t care whether you’ve got any friends because you think you can take care of all the enemies yourself. Clearly, you can’t.

    As for pontificating, pot … meet kettle.

  • STM

    First paragraph above should begin: Al writes “Blah blah ..”

  • zingzing

    dean, i wasn’t commenting on the article. just the thread. and if you can’t see the relationship between what cannonshop said (silly as it may be) and the general idea that certain americans would like to fight against, well… what am i supposed to do?

  • STM

    Al: “I flatter myself”.

    Yeah, you do but you probably shouldn’t.

    Clearly, you’ve stopped listening to any other arguments but your own, even when they’re spurious. You used the constitutional argument, I say it’s bollcks and another example of Americans believing they are exceptional and above everything. That is certainly how your argument appears to pan out, especially when you focus on due process, which didn’t magically appear in the US in 1776.

    You know the old adage, right?

    A man who only takes notice of his own arguments is often negotiating with an idiot.

  • STM

    Cannon, the evidence in that trial was pretty compelling. There are plenty of non-US citizens locked up in American jails who say they’re innocent and only there because they’re not Americans.

    She should probably get a retrial given some of the new information that has come to light lately, but the evidence that convicted her in the first place will still be compelling.

  • STM

    Al: The UK is one of the strongest supporters of the ICC.

    It was also the first country to enshrine due process in law; it survived for another 400 years to become a pillar of the Bill of Rights and it’s why it exists in America. My pointing that out is not pontificating but the basis of a valid argument.

    The 1354 Liberty of Subject Act states:

    “No man of what estate or condition that he be, shall be put out of land or tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without being brought in answer by due process of the law.”

    Due process, trial by a jury of your peers, the right to silence, the right not incriminate yourself by giving evidence against yourself in court, and safeguards such as habeas corpus, still form the key plank of the UK criminal justice system, just as they do in the US.

    To possess UK citizenship is a guarantee of these rights and part of the contract between government and citizen that all these conditions will be met or by law, or there is injustice.

    Plenty of other countries also have due process enshrined as part of inherited anglo-American jurisprudence.

    Which is why I think your argument using the constition as its anchor is a complete crock and is nothing but an example of the myth of exceptionalism held by some Americans … once again, and as we’ve all come to expect.

  • STM

    And as another example, here’s how Australia, which places supreme value in the criminal jurisdiction on due process and the other safeguards offered up in anglo-American jurisprudence, dealt with it when it signed on to the ICC in 2002.

    The wording of this is key, especially the part about the primacy of Australia’s criminal jurisdiction, and would appear to shoot down many of the kinds of arguments offered up by some in the US regarding citizens and due process rights.

    Is ratifying while stressing primacy and safeguards for citizens the answer?

    I still maintain, however, that the US should be wary and move carefully if it ever did lean towards the ICC, especially in regard to agendas. I would hate to see Americans – or anyone else – prosecuted for tearing terrorists and mass murderers a new set of arseholes, which might be a risk if agendas come into play.

  • Cannonshop

    #41 is the point-Agendas, once you sign over your sovereignty to outsiders, you are subject to their political AGENDAS. There is a REASON the U.S. did not buy off on the revision to the Geneva Conventions adopted in the 1970’s at Soviet urgings that would provide protections to non-uniformed irregular forces (i.e. Terrorists or Insurgencies) the same rights as uniformed regular forces. The change was never ratified, and under U.S. Constitutional structure, it is therefore non-binding. Buying in to ICC would REQUIRE that this non-ratified structure (one generated specifically, at the time, to protect Soviet sponsored groups such as Shining Path, and which would now protect Al Quaeda’s operatives) take precedence over U.S. Law, and give their sympathizers and apologists in Europe and elsewhere power over U.S. personnel in the field.

    Utilizing the power of Agenda, any action taken by a soldier (including taking none) can be ‘classified’ as a “War Crime” or “Atrocity”, and international bodies have a rather ridiculous track-record on the subject (For example, ignoring Arab rocket-attacks on Israeli civilians, while condemning israeli counter-battery fire.)

    There are, by definition, no neutrals in armed conflict, least of all those that proclaim their own ‘fairness’, there are innocent bystanders, but once involved, someone’s going to be on a side.

    Notably also, is Britain’s continuing trend toward disarmament and capitulation-not just on foreign fronts, but domestically as well-which is also the pattern in Europe, with the tolerance shown to the use of violence and murder over friging CARTOONS, while condemning anyone who takes a counter-point issue with it.

    I’m not ready for Dhimmitude anymore than I was ready for surrender to the Soviets-lots of people on the Left apparently ARE, and bodies like ICC or the United Nations underscore this very, very, well.

    On the Knox thing (since I brought it up) Evidence is ALWAYS compelling when it is not allowed to be challenged, and when exculpatory evidence is excluded. Under Italian Law, OJ Simpson would’ve been convicted and it wouldn’t have taken nine months to do it. Being present at a murder scene in the U.S. makes you a WITNESS, not a Perpetrator.

  • zingzing

    “Being present at a murder scene in the U.S. makes you a WITNESS, not a Perpetrator.”

    but does it make you an american?

  • STM

    I don’t agree with you on the Brits backing down on much at all; they’re the only ones with any real clout who back the US when it chooses the tougher courses of action … like In Iraq or Afghanistan.

    And on Ms Knox. Yes, she probably does deserve a retrial since new information has come to light.

    At first, being present at a murder scene anywhere makes you a witness AND a person of interest, and not just in the US … that is, until the prosecutors and police start eliminating people from their inquiries.

    I don’t bhelieve Italians dislike Americans that much that it would form part of their prosecutorial mindset in a murder trial.

    Italy might not be noted for its system of justice compared to ours, but not everything’s a conspiracy against the US or its citizens.

    The evidence against her was certainly compelling … at the time. From what I saw of it, there didn’t appear to be much room for reasonable doubt at the time of the trial.

    What’s happened since is a different story.

  • STM

    That post above is for Cannon.

  • STM

    Cannon writes: “once you sign over your sovereignty to outsiders, you are subject to their political AGENDAS”

    Then you don’t sign it away. Check the link above on what the Aussie government did when it ratified. It made the primacy of the protections of Australia’s criminal justice system legally binding before it would even agree to ICC ratification.

  • Cannonshop

    By ratifying, Australia still subjects itself to sanction, particularly if the mood of the ICC is not amenable to acknowledging Australian Jurisdiction, Stan, much the same as is currently going on wrt to the U.S. being accused of “War Crimes” and violations of Geneva that are only legally binding if it had ratified the amendments put forward by the Soviet Union (and warsaw pact nations) in the seventies. It’s kind of like something called “mission creep” in the military community-first you give it a little bit, with “Strongly worded” protections-but once the new agency feels it is secure, it will over-ride and attempt to impose its OWN standards, and regardless of the “Protections” stipulated, typically all that really happens is either the agency is repudiated and shown to be an empty-suit (see: United Nations Committee on Human Rights), or the “protections” are ignored (See: international kerfluffle over how non-uniformed combatants are handled by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan-this latter example ignoring that under the version ratified by the U.S. these NUC’s don’t have ANY rights, except a bullet to the forehead-they are UNLAWFUL combatants, same as spies or Mercenaries, Geneva only provides one lawful treatment of spies or mercenaries-execution…at least, the version ratified by the United States.)

    An ICC with little to no actual power is safer for everyone, than an ICC likely to revel in extranational powers and attendant corruption as the United Nations typically embodies.

    As for how I tie the Kercher thing in?

    Okay, the only country more universally hated than ISRAEL world-wide? is the United States, it’s fashionable, especially in mainland Europe, to despise the U.S., and the Knox trial was high-profile, it likely made the prosecutor and Judges famous with the wine-sipping set from eastern spain all the way to Berlin-being able to “Show those arrogant Yanks what-for” is good for any ambitious pol in the EU, or anyone seeking a higher office out there, particularly anyone whose politics are left-of-centre.

  • zingzing

    cannonshop, that’s not the most persuasive legal argument. that’s a load of conjecture and wishful thinking. “oh, us poor americans. we’re hated because we’re free and shit.” come on. maybe she’s innocent. but you go stand in a roomful of corpse in america and see if you aren’t arrested. but then, it’ll just be because you’re white. yup.

  • STM

    Cannon: “Geneva only provides one lawful treatment of spies or mercenaries-execution…at least, the version ratified by the United States”

    Which the US, to its credit, hasn’t followed through on in this latest round of nastiness. As far as I know, captured “enemy combatants” have not been executed by US authorities.

    I’m sure we would have heard about it ad infinitum if even one had been put to death.

    Of course, you don’t hear the same howls of protest when al-Qaeda are cutting off innocent people’s heads live on video or killing captured US soldiers and dragging bits of their bodies through the streets of Fallujah whilst dancing up and down.

    There’s a conundrum for you.

  • John Lake

    The Unites States and the International Criminal Court are and will be at odds owing to the simple fact that the ICC finds it hard to prosecute wars of aggression while the U.S. finds them acceptable.

  • Follow-up to comment #33: the Associated Press reports, “Oklahoma voters have approved a measure that would forbid judges from considering international law or Islamic law when deciding cases.” This is a significant victory for our sovereign American legal system.