Cluster Bombs, Political Pressure, And The ICC

If you want to see the very concerns conservatives have had about the international criminal court unfolding before your eyes, then you need look no further than a Reuters article called “UK cluster bombs may be war crime“. It starts off like so,

“British use of cluster bombs in the Iraq war could count as a war crime and justifies further investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor in the Hague, a group of international lawyers say.”

The use of cluster bombs could be a war crime you say? Well gee, what other country used cluster bombs in Iraq, in much greater numbers than the Brits? No, it’s not the Poles. The Canadians? Are you daft? They weren’t even in Iraq & with their infinitesimal military budget they probably couldn’t afford cluster bombs anyway. Yes, there you go, now you’ve got it…the US used cluster bombs in Iraq. But fortunately, as one of the international lawyers in the article points out,

“The U.S. cannot be tried before the court because it refuses to sign up to it. The UK did.”

Exactly. And you can be absolutely certain that if we had signed up for the ICC, we’d have groups of international lawyers falling all over themselves to find a way to put a member of the Bush Administration into a cell. Can you imagine how jubilant they’d be if they could put Rumsfeld or Tommy Franks into a cell next to Milosevic? Oh they’d be drinking champagne in France that night….well, until we bombed the Hague and rescued them.

Now, I know the standard answer to these concerns is, “Well, these lawyers can ask the ICC to prosecute the Brits, but that doesn’t mean they will. This will never get to court”. I must admit that Tony Blair probably isn’t going to end up in front of the ICC. But, I think you’ll find one person’s explanation of “WHY” the Brits aren’t going to be in front of the court to be very instructive,

“Instinctively, it seems probable that political pressure will be bought to bear to prevent this going to the ICC,” barrister Hugo Charlton told Reuters.

If political pressure can be put on the ICC not to try a case, then it also stands to reason that political pressure can be used to influence the ICC to take a case as well. Now, why in the world would we want to put US citizens in front of a court composed of non-Americans who can be influenced by “political pressure,” especially given that we already prosecute our own citizens for war crimes if we think it’s appropriate?

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