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Monday, 12.10.2012, 05:22pm (GMT+1)
The establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal to investigate charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes against peace are subject to approval by the UN Security Council as an enforcement measure under Chapter VII of the UN Charter:
As what a growing number of acclaimed national and international jurists refer to and or conjecture or posture as a United States’ “war of aggression,” especially amidst additional allegations of the serial commission of war crimes, allegations exacerbated by an ever-increasing number of atrocities committed by members of the U.S.-led NATO military contingent and followed by the resultant negative media coverage, have led to increased global demands for the convening of an International War Crimes Tribunal for Afghanistan. Universally recognized atrocities by treaty and weapons-experts to include the use of proscribed (white phosphorous, depleted uranium, high power microwave (HPM)) weapons, massive air bombardment proximate to densely populated and undefended civilian areas, indiscriminate, unmanned drone attack, targeted killings sans due (trial by jury) process, night raids, extraordinary rendition, torture, arbitrary detention, and an alarming increase in individual or small group atrocities (vigilantism) in which a number of recent macabre photographs from rural villages in Afghanistan depicting smiling American servicemen posing with decapitated, bloody corpses of Afghan civilians demonstrates so vividly.
That there exists a preponderance of evidence within which the United States is manifestly guilty of the above noted breaches of conduct during their prosecution of war in Afghanistan from 2001 to the present is without question. Today’s media headline: (“U.S. Drones kill 178 children in Pakistan and Yemen”) according to meticulous data collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and as reported by the Brave New Foundation, 12/3/2012, is but one such example and cites the extreme, aggressive, and indiscriminate nature of this war and the urgency for which a War Crimes Tribunal must be convened.
However, as all five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council must vote for the creation of a War Crimes Tribunal, the question of justice thus becomes, in the case of Afghanistan, one of persuading a powerful Member of the Security Council with veto power, in this case the United States, to investigate itself.
It will come as no surprise therefore that those governments that initiate ‘wars of choice,’ promoted ethnic cleansing, and encouraged the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by their combatants and proxy-militias, reject any useful dialogue concerning the formation of a War Crimes Tribunal and or cooperation with investigators. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have signed into law legislation that effectively immunizes U.S. military personnel from being formally charged with war crimes. Another case in point and as a timeless example of partisan politics, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah while serving as Hamid Karzai’s Foreign Minister, signed an agreement with the U.S. absolving American military personnel from litigation and likely prosecution for war crimes. The terms (incentives/bribes) of the agreement are not known. Yet this much is known: such an agreement was of benefit to the Northern Alliance due to its anti-Taliban orientation. This is a man, (Dr. Abdullah Abdullah) who in 2001, several months prior to 9/11, while attending a conference in Berlin, encouraged the U.S. to carpet-bomb Kandahar, advising that the city is thoroughly “infested with al-Qaeda training camps.” In yet another transparent example of the injustice, double-standard and prejudices extant in the application of international law, consider the formation and commission of a Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday, May 29, 2012. The Court sentenced former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone, a neighboring country, this while ignoring more grave and egregious infractions of international law by powerful, veto-armed Members of the UN…the USSR and its successor state…the Russian Federation (1979-1989), and currently, the U.S-led NATO contingent from (2001-present).
Therefore, American soldiers could not and would not be held accountable for various breaches in international law pursuant to conduct while engaged in military operations in Afghanistan. Suffice it to say, the realpolitik of the matter is that politically connected war criminals, either individual and or a state, do not and will not facilitate their own investigation, prosecution and sentencing.
In the matter of Afghanistan, an observation worthy of note is that the United States denied their crimes, reducing them to “occasional incidents, or reasonable responses to inexcusable provocation” while simultaneously inking a non-jurisdictional agreement with a pseudo-foreign minister representing an American –installed government. A more apparent and clear case of diplomatic expediency, external interference and circumstantial evidence is difficult to imagine. Thus, this “homage of vice to virtue”, is in fact prima-facie evidence that the U.S. and the Karzai Administration were cognizant that their exactions, both administrative and military, are representative of grave breaches of international law.
Thus, the United Nations, notwithstanding their mandate to pursue conflict resolution and attendant recognition and protection of fundamental human rights, subverts the spirit if not the letter of the law through parliamentarian procedure and maneuvering that upholds America’s unchallenged right of veto, hence enabling a member-state to violate international law with impunity. While at the intergovernmental level, external remonstrations have been parochial…limited to circumspect, diplomatic expressions of “concern” or “grave concern,” words and phrases coined and calculated to assuage public concern while maintaining the status-quo interests of member-states. Member’s special dispensations include, inter-alia, control of the Member-specific narrative vis-à-vis war reparations for the aggrieved, and the continued acquisition and consolidation of international market share, manifest with the exploitation of natural resources in “developing nations” and the continuity of heretofore sacrosanct “spheres of influence”… under protection of Member states military and intelligence projection predicated on dated, artificial demarcations and or boundaries as drafted by member states.
Victims have the right to justice and the right to compensation or reparation. Justice must be rendered either by national adjudication and or by international venue. When national courts cannot or will not offer guarantees of independence and impartiality, or are physically unable to function, this becomes a matter before the International Criminal Court.
Currently, the two International Criminal Tribunals are temporary courts (Rwanda and Bosnia) with limited jurisdiction: hence the need to create a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC).
The approval, in July 2002 of the International Criminal Court as codified under the “Rome Statute”, complimentary to and yet independent from UN proscription and or resolution, shows that a growing number of governments and people are convinced that international justice should, if not prevail over politics; at least play the role of a legal paradigm and moral conscience for world leaders.
As of this date, 114 countries, including Russia, became signatories and Members to the Convention which became effective in the year 2000. An additional 139 countries have become signatories but have not as yet been ratified the Court.
Inexplicably, the concept of the (International Criminal Court) ICC legal international body was rejected out of hand by the George W. Bush Administration. Currently, the Obama Administration, ironically led by a Constitutional scholar, attorney and lecturer in “The Inviolable rights of citizens” has pledged only undefined-cooperation while staunchly maintaining the U.S. jus ad bellum: (just cause for military doctrine) defense/motive for launching premeditated ‘war of aggression.’
United States delegates abstained from support citing two key objections in the Statute: The prosecutor’s power to initiate investigations and the Court’s jurisdiction over crimes committed by citizens’ of non-signatory countries. Such is the legalese or gerrymandering surrounding allegations filed against the U.S. for crimes committed by the U.S. military in Afghanistan…a non-signatory country.
After the vote, in what can only be construed as mindless hypocrisy, American officials threatened active opposition to the ratification of the Statute by other countries and to the eventual operation of the court, in a cynical reversal of their earlier support for the punishment of the practitioners of war crimes and in total contradiction to the decisive role of the U.S.A. in the creation and implementation of the Nuremberg, Tokyo, ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals. It could reasonably be argued therefore, that the uncharacteristic posture of the U.S. Government reflects a growing concern over fiscal responsibility to underwrite massive reparations for the aggrieved due to “wars of choice”… extra-legal aggression against the sovereign nations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya.
If the United States succeeds in frustrating the concept and implementation of the International Criminal Court, undoubtedly the darker side of the spectrum is a continuation of man’s inhumanity to man.
Bruce G. Richardson, 12/2012
See: The Crimes Committed in the Name of 9/11, Professor Michael Chossudovsky, ‘Global Research’ and ‘A War without Borders, a Global War of Conquest’, “The tragic events of 9/11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history.” The past 9/11 era is marked by the outright criminalization of the U.S. State, including its judicial, foreign policy, national security and intelligence apparatus”, Professor Michael Chossudovsky, 11/15/2012. See also: ‘The Real Scandal, Crimes of War, not Passion’, Randall Amster, 11/19/2002, Anti War.Com, ‘Global Research’ 11/15/2012: “Only in America could such rabid puritanism combine with uncritical genocidal complicity,” ‘Inter-Conference on 9/11 Revisited: Seeking the Truth’, “Perdana Global Foundation” (PGPF), 11/15/2012.