Ferencz Reply to Wall Street Journal Editor

Robert Bartley's misinformed and biased opposition to the International Criminal Court cries out for reply. I write as a former American soldier who fought in every campaign in Europe during World War Two, who saw the horrors of war and genocide first hand and who proudly represented the United States as a Chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials where we inspired the world with our vision of a universal rule of law binding on all nations.

Why is that the most distinguished legal scholars in America have urged the United States to support the court? That includes the conservative American Bar Association, ten former Presidents of the American Society of International Law, leading Harvard Law School Professors who summarized an objective study by the revered American Academy of Arts and Sciences that included conclusions of the Chief Judge of the US Court of Military Appeals, the published views of a renowned former State Department Legal Advisor and Pentagon Adviser, American Nuremberg Prosecutors, a thousand non-governmental organizations, the entire European Community and many of our oldest allies. Details and citations can readily be found on my website: www.benferencz.org.

Bartley seeks to frighten an uninformed public by the threat of an irresponsible prosecutor running amok accusing innocent Americans of atrocious crimes including "the crime of aggression." He ignores the fact that the court has no jurisdiction whatsoever to consider that crime unless there is an amendment to the Court's statute that can't even be considered for another seven years. He also ignores the fact that the UN Security Council is empowered to halt any investigation by the court for an indefinite period. A host of other safeguards also remain unmentioned. Why?

President Bush has just signed a treaty with Russia to reduce the nuclear threat. Does he know that under the new Bolton doctrine, that treaties are all signed in erasable ink, the next President can renounce the signature of predecessors and render all such signatures meaningless? The US Constitution never anticipated such an abasement of Presidential authority.

Let us hope that when the court starts functioning the US will overcome its current confusion and decide to join with the rest of the civilized world in upholding universal principles of law and humanity.