Reply to: A Global Court of Injustice

"Fire!" is being shouted in a crowded theater by persons who are trying to stampede the public with misleading and erroneous declarations. Justwatch has forwarded a lengthy commentary by the "American Patriotic Friends Network" that is sharply critical of the efforts to establish an international criminal court competent to try major perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It excoriates President Clinton for signing the Rome treaty on the ICC. It reflects the views of Senator Jesse Helms as well as conservative Americans who strongly oppose the court. It is their constitutional right to do so, but many of the arguments made are completely false and should not be allowed to stand.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (founded in 1780,) recently published the results of a very comprehensive study: "The United States and the International Criminal Court." After presenting the views of many outstanding patriots, including US Ambassador David Scheffer, Professors Michael Scharf, Ruth Wedgwood, Bartram S. Brown, Robinson O. Everett (Chief Judge of the Court of Military Appeals), Major General William Nash and other distinguished experts and scholars, the conclusion was reached by two of the leading lights of the Harvard Law School that signing the treaty would serve the best interests of the United States and its servicemembers.

Silence in the face outrageous calumny might be misinterpreted as acquiescence or cowardice. Many military leaders, including Generals George Lee Butler, Jack Kidd, Admirals Eugene Carroll, and Stansfield Turner, and former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, are among the countless patriots who have spoken out for the rule of law. Those who seek a more peaceful world should try to correct the misguided views of those who imply that they are authorized to speak for patriotic Americans.

As one who fought as an enlisted man in every campaign in World War II, from the beaches of Normandy to the liberation of the 101st Airborne Division trapped in Bastogne, and a prosecutor who proudly represented the United States at Nuremberg when our government condemned aggression, genocide and crimes against humanity and promised that "never again:" would such atrocities be allowed to go unpunished, I urge all patriotic Americans to study the facts carefully before reaching any conclusions about the international court. All who seek a more humane and peaceful world must be convinced that law is always better than war.

Benjamin B. Ferencz