Thursday, September 10, 2009

ICC Rapidly Becoming a Joke

The U.S. refrained from ratifying the treaty joining the International Criminal Court, and the wisdom of that decision is even more apparent now. The Wall Street Journal reports that the ICC is
looking into accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan to determine whether there is cause to open a formal investigation
Is it focusing on the Taliban and Al Qaeda, terrorist organizations that obey no rules or treaties of warfare, and deliberately target civilians? Of course not. Well, its chief prosecutor does say they are "also" looking at the Taliban. But their primary target is NATO in general, and the U.S. in particular.
The ICC's preliminary inquiry is "very complex," Mr. Ocampo said. The court is trying to assess allegations of crimes including "massive attacks," collateral damage and torture, he said, adding that his investigators were getting information from human-rights groups in Afghanistan and from the Afghan government.

A "massive" attack, aside from being completely subjective as to what constitutes "massive," has nothing specific to do with war crimes. Collateral damage, by its very definition is not a war crime. It occurs when people who are not targeted become casualties by virtue of their proximity to actual targets. Torture could be a war crime, such as an Abu Ghraib type situation, but those types of incidents are punished anyway by regular military organizations. Apparently the ICC is continuing the quest to make the term "war crimes" virtually meaningless, by applying a ridiculously broad interpretation.

This investigation has obvious political overtones, or it wouldn't be focused on the side that actually obeys all sorts of rules and often puts its own forces at risk rather than inflict unnecessary casualties. Rather than just another example of the usual blind legalism that has gained in popularity lately, this action is a particularly biased form of legalism that targets the side it should be supporting. The U.S. and NATO already operate under many restrictions, yet now they are expected to worry about fools parsing their every action in an attempt to prosecute them for war crimes.

The U.S. should refuse to give any support whatsoever to the ICC, and continue to deny it any jurisdiction over any of our forces. If the court persists with this nonsense, we should consider it a hostile entity.

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