A Response to Congressional Slander of the International Criminal Court
July 18, 2004
Don Kraus and Heather Hamilton, of Global Solutions, have forwarded information about recent congressional action that is very disturbing. On July 15, 2004, Republican Congressman George R. Nethercutt Jr, introduced an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (H.AMDT.706 (A015) amending H.R. 4818) to eliminate Economic Support Fund Assistance to any countries that do not sign bilateral agreements exempting US nationals from the jurisdiction of the ICC.
"My amendment," said Congressman Nethercutt, "would simply give the President an additional tool to protect our troops by prohibiting Economic Support Funding as well as military assistance to the governments of countries that are both parties to the ICC and have not signed Article 98 agreements....We have an obligation to protect our Armed Forces from unconstitutional extraterritorial prosecution." His further reference to the Security Council's refusal to accept a US resolution to the same effect, signaled the Congressmen's expressed desire to "send a powerful message to the world community" that the US would protect its interests "if the Security Council will not do its part."
Representative Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York spoke against the amendment, ad did Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona. The Republican Majority Leader, Mr. Delay of Texas, let loose a blast in support of the amendment, saying: "The United Nations has created an International Criminal Court, a shady amalgam of every idea ever cooked up for world government. The United States, its President, this Congress and the American people has categorically, unequivocally and completely rejected the ICC and its insistence in threatening the American people with prosecution. We reject its laughable legitimacy, we reject its un-American denial of civil rights, and we reject its anti-American politics. And yet the ICC still asserts jurisdiction over the American people, including American soldiers fighting the war on terror and still salivates at the prospect of prosecuting one of us for anything the UN does not like."
The amendment passed by a recorded vote of 241 to 166. It now goes to the Senate for further action. A warning signal has been sounded. If concerned citizens fail to respond, we will have only ourselves to blame for the consequences. I should be recognized that Mr. DeLay's vituperations are not supported by the facts -- to put it very mildly. There are countless articles by very respected international legal authorities, including the American Bar Association and every former President of the American Society of Intentional Law, demonstrating that it is in the interests of the United States to support the ICC. The Republican opposition to the Court seems not to be interested in the facts or the truth. Nor do they seem concerned that the attitude of exceptionalism and unilateralism expressed by this Congress must cone as a slap in the face not merely to the United Nations, the Security Council but also to every nation that has ratified the Statute for the ICC.
The ICC was created to hold accountable those leaders responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and major war crimes, under clear laws that must apply equally to all. It is carefully supervised by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, every member of the European Community and a total of more than ninety nations that comprise the Assembly of State Parties. No Prosecutor human history has had more controls and restraints and the Court has no enforcement authority. To suggest that they are all salivating for the blood of US soldiers is --. You fill in the adjective!.
To insist that established international law binds everyone except the United states is a repudiation of the most important principle espoused by our government at Nuremberg. No other country makes that argument and it is completely unfounded. t must be seen as a slap in the face of all other nations. When we need all the foreign help we can get, Is that a way to make or keep friends? Let your Senators and the other nations, as well as the voters, hear your views.