Both Russia and the United States are rejecting war crimes allegations from the International Criminal Court.
The International Criminal Court is losing support from super powers Russia and the United States, as well as smaller nations like the Philippines. Last week Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte spoke out against the court, calling it “useless”. The ICC recently stated that they may have jurisdiction to prosecute those who carry out killings as part of the Philippines’ drug war. President Duterte has encouraged the killing of drug dealers, leading to more than 2,400 deaths. Duterte dismissed the court and said it was losing influence.
In recent weeks the court has also been criticized by three African nations: Burundi, South Africa and Gambia. However, the biggest blow to the ICC’s credibility comes from the United States and Russia. Both nations were critical of the court, with Russia completely withdrawing from the court.
First, the ICC stated that the U.S. and CIA could face charges for war crimes for abuses in Afghanistan. In a new report, the ICC said there was “reasonable basis to believe” that U.S. forces had tortured at least 61 prisoners in Afghanistan and another 27 at CIA detention facilities in 2003 and 2004. ICC head Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told Reuters that the court will decide whether to pursue a full investigation into the matter, including possible charges and arrest warrants.
The U.S. State Department responded by stating that the possibility of an investigation was not “warranted or appropriate.” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said since the U.S. has not ratified the ICC treaty they are not under its jurisdiction.
“We do not believe that an ICC examination or investigation with respect to actions of U.S. personnel in relation to the situation in Afghanistan is warranted or appropriate,” Trudeau stated.
The ICC was established in 1998 as an independent body that would prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC was created through a treaty signed by more than 120 nations. Countries that are not members include Israel, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, India, China, and the United States. Although Bill Clinton signed the treaty during his presidency it was not ratified by Congress. Of course, President George W. Bush opposed the court because he knew that political investigations and prosecutions of U.S. officials would likely be forthcoming. Russia also signed the treaty but did not ratify it.
It seems, Russian President Vladimir Putin may be attempting to avoid the sticky situation U.S. officials are now enduring. Putin just signed a presidential directive announcing that Russia would withdraw from the ICC because the ICC “has failed to meet the expectations to become a truly independent authoritative international tribunal.”
However, the ICC’s court is also accusing Russia of “an on-going state of occupation,” regarding Russia’s decision to annex Crimea in Ukraine. As Anti Media notes:
Further, Russia has been accused of committing war crimes in Aleppo and wider Syria over its military’s heavy bombardment of opposition-held areas. Just this week, Russia launched a large-scale offensive in Aleppo, as well as in the Syrian districts of Homs and Idlib. It used its recently deployed flotilla of warships.
Now that it has become clear that not even the United States will be immune from the ICC’s jurisdiction, Russia has evidently made a decision to escape trial while it still can. The decision to withdraw lends credence to the idea they are not adequately protecting civilians in Syria and that there may actually be Russian forces deployed in Ukraine, despite its assertions to the contrary.
While many activists are quick to reject any claims made by international or global bodies of government, it may be that the ICC is legitimately trying to go after the decision makers and order followers within the U.S. government. Those who value autonomy and freedom would do well to remember that the State, whether on a national or international level, is an institution that will always lead to more control and domination. The institution should be opposed on both a global and national level. However, until that point comes when the State is broken down to nothing we should support investigations and arrests of those who have caused pain and suffering around the world.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2
Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact Derrick@activistpost.com