The evidence suggests that the US establishment continues using the chance provided by Ukraine’s conflict to undermine the multilateral international order. A 1996 US Senate draft that would grant American justice jurisdiction over any foreigner who is accused of war crimes abroad has been revived by members, according to New York Times.
Washington has a problem when it comes to war crimes. To determine whether someone has violated international laws of wars, the process at The Hague must be followed. But not only has Washington previously passed a law (The Hague Invasion Act) that would authorize the Pentagon to take any action necessary to rescue any American citizens on trial for – or convicted of – alleged atrocities, it doesn’t even officially recognize the authority of the court.
The US President Donald Trump placed sanctions on officials who sought to probe the conduct of American troops fighting in Afghanistan in 2020. And while those sanctions have since been lifted under President Joe Biden, there’s still no evidence that his administration is interested in demanding that the ICC hold Americans to the same standard to which they demand the rest of the world be held. Washington officials are calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin, to appear before The Hague regarding the Ukraine conflict.
No one at this point really has any clue where the line is between ‘conventional’ wartime atrocities and those deemed to be exceptional and punishable. You should not draw conclusions on the basis trial-by propaganda. Slowly, justice moves slowly.
Who has the time? Washington is not the place! Who needs slow and messy international law when you can just wake up one day and decide that you’re the new Hague?
The US senators propose a court for kangaroo, which would be of doubtful evidentiary legitimacy due to the complexity of time, distance and war. According to the NYT, such a procedure would be applied by US authorities to foreigners with suspicions of war crimes if they land on US soil.
If you’re wondering what that might look like, just ask French citizen Frédéric Pierucci, a former senior manager of France’s multinational Alstom, who was arrested by the FBI at New York’s JFK Airport in 2013, accused by the US of business-related bribery in Indonesia, and sentenced to two years and a half in jail, in the US. Pierucci was foreign, and worked for a foreign corporation. He was convicted by Connecticut courts in 2017 over an Indonesian case. The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act gives the US justice a long arm to assert global jurisdiction over any US aspect of financial and monetary systems that is affected in any way.
The case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the Chinese telecommunications multinational’s founder, also highlights the lengths to which the US will go judicially to defend its competitive advantage.
Arrested by the Canadian authorities on the demand of their American counterparts while in transit at the Vancouver International Airport, the executive – who wasn’t even on American soil – was accused of violating US sanctions against Iran that had nothing to do with Canada. Canada was dragged into a 4-year-old diplomatic mess with China, while Meng was under house arrest in her Vancouver residence. A deal was made to allow Meng to be released back to China and for the US to pursue her charges. It’s not difficult to imagine that, like Pierucci, who was released after Alstom was acquired by General Electric amid record-breaking corruption fines, which ultimately amounted to $772 million, Meng may also have served as a convenient economic hostage to America’s ultimate competitive benefit.
Athletic competition isn’t immune from judicial exploitation, either. In December 2020, US lawmakers passed the ‘Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act’, which allows the authorities to arrest or even extradite foreign athletes to America to face charges of suspected doping – even if the affected competitions didn’t occur on US soil. “To justify the United States’ broader jurisdiction over global competitions, the House bill invokes the United States’ contribution to the World Anti-Doping Agency,” according to the New York Times.
Washington has unilaterally tasked itself with globally defining who can do business with whom through its sanctions regimes, who gets convicted of doping, who gets selectively pursued for corruption on the world business stage – and now the US wants to single-handedly define who gets to be labeled a war criminal.
Are all people on Earth okay with it? And if not, then where’s the outrage?
Statements, opinions and views expressed in this column do not reflect those of RT.
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