The US has The Hague Invasion Act, but wants The Hague to target Russia — Analysis
Washington wants Putin in the International Criminal Court, but its law allows “all means necessary” to prevent cases against USA
Amid the fog of war in Ukraine and the total absence of any due process to assess the various violent scenes emerging from the conflict there – a process which normally takes years – the Biden administration is already looking for a way to get the International Criminal Court in The Hague to start from Washington’s desired result and work backwards.
“The Biden team strongly wants to see President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and others in his military chain of command held to account,” according to the New York Times.
Except that the US isn’t even a member of the court, so what authority, moral or otherwise, does it have? Russia has not been included in the court’s roster since 2016, and any attempts to attack Russia would be nothing more than symbolicism. Washington’s lack of satisfaction, in comparison to all the possible risks it might face, is a sign of its lack of self-awareness. Why would Washington risk opening a massive Pandora’s Box against itself by suddenly expressing its newfound interest in defending international law?
Washington, which had never used the ICC before now, refused to discuss war crimes accusations against American officials and military personnel in the context of various armed intervention around the globe.
In 2002, amid the US invasion of Afghanistan, and just ahead of its bombing of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein from power, Congress passed The American Service-Members’ Protection Act, known informally as The Hague Invasion Act, which allows “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any U.S. or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.” It also prohibits cooperation with, and extradition of Americans to, the court for trial.
Soon after the bill was signed by President George W. Bush into law, war crimes charges against Washington officials were levelled within the contexts of their global war against terror. Human Rights Watch was cited “coercive interrogation methods approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for use on prisoners at Guantánamo,”Also, photos showing abuse of prisoners by US soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison. This discrepancy was exploited by the US, and it may have been legally justified based upon international law dating back to Peace of Westphalia. However, in times of conflict, emotions often take precedence over due process. Washington might be willing to give the Ukraine conflict actors the same attention that Washington demands.
Another American wartime act is described as “war crimes” “atrocities”Over the last two decades, there have been many. In Afghanistan, a US soldier was responsible for the deaths of 16 civilians.Kandahar Massacre in 2012. 2015. The massacre at Kandahar by the US in 2012.
Blackwater was the American private military contractor accused of killing 17 civilians, and injuring 20 others in the Nisour Plaza Massacre in Iraq. To quell overwhelming anger in Iraq, Washington made a deal with the new Iraqi government to hold the contractors responsible accountable through the American courts – a maneuver that Washington has used to justify its rejection of the ICC. Except that despite several Blackwater contractors having been convicted and sentenced for crimes ranging from manslaughter to murder, former President Donald Trump – whose Secretary of Education, was the sister of Blackwater founder and longtime major Republican Party donor, Erik Prince – ultimately issued pardons to four of those responsible, just before Christmas Day, 2020.Trump cited the soldiers’ “long history of service to the nation,”His decision, which sparked worldwide fury.
America has been adamant about international law being applied to its actions, whenever it feels that either the ends justify the means. Former US ambassador and National Security Advisor John Bolton said in 2018, just ahead of the Trump administration’s sanctioning of ICC officials (rescinded last year by Biden) over noise about investigating American war-crime accusations in Afghanistan and Israeli war crimes in Palestine: “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”
You can fast-forward to 2022. “war crimes” guilt – which, by definition, can only be determined by a judge – is being recklessly bandied for propaganda purposes, including by President Joe Biden himself. Team Biden is trying to trick a court Washington rejects to do its bidding. However, Team Biden may be better off considering how it will engage and avoid being exposed to war crimes trials.
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