Politics & Policy

The Get Is In

The International Criminal Court at work.

If there was any doubt that the U.N. International Criminal Court, whatever the original intention, is fated to become a “Get America” conspiracy, legitimated by the mantle of the United Nations, the confirming evidence that it is a “Get America” conspiracy is just in.

In a world inhabited by the likes of Fidel Castro, Kim Sung Il, Robert Mugabe — and only yesterday by Saddam Hussein — a group of lawyers and so-called human-rights organizations related to the National Lawyers Guild have announced that they are preparing to prosecute the United States for alleged war crimes in Iraq before the nine-month-old ICC.

Since the Bush administration quite properly rejected the ICC treaty and therefore American citizens are beyond the court’s jurisdiction, the prosecuting attorneys will attempt to bring the U.S. to trial by indicting Great Britain, a staunch Coalition member that did ratify the ICC treaty. Truth will not be the object of any future trial of America in absentia, anti-Americanism will.

The announcement of the proposed prosecution was made by Michael Ratner, president of the “Center for Constitutional Rights” who also represents the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay among other clients. It comes on the same day that the following countries have been nominated for membership in the U.N. Human Rights Commission: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, “Democratic Republic of Congo,” Egypt, Nigeria, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. And if you didn’t know it, you know it now — the recent chairman of the U.N. Human Rights Commission was Libya, yes, Qaddafi’s Libya.

And here’s another little gem: Election to membership in the U.N. HRC is so rigged that of the 191 U.N. member states, only one country is forever barred from election to the U.N. HRC — Israel.

While President Clinton signed the U.N.-ICC treaty, it was never submitted to the Senate for ratification and President Bush announced last July that he had no intention of sending it to the Senate. As Press Secretary Ari Fleischer put it July 2, 2002, President Bush “thinks the ICC is fundamentally flawed because it puts American servicemen and women at fundamental risk of being tried by an entity that is beyond America’s reach, beyond America’s laws, and can subject American civilians and military to arbitrary standards of justice.”

Never mind that the first president of the ICC, the Canadian Judge Phillipe Kirsch, and the newly appointed prosecutor, the Argentinian Luis Moreno Ocampo, have pledged fairness in their Hague Tribunal. Just imagine the speeches, the witnesses, the affidavits, the exposes of supposed American iniquities recited before the ICC with full television coverage and no adversarial cross-examination. As goes the French proverb, “Les absent ont toujours tort.” The absent are always wrong.

Not being within the ICC’s jurisdiction eliminates the possibility of Americans being tried for human rights violations but that won’t stop the court — and America’s enemies — from circulating libels and slanders against America. More and more international organizations, whatever their noble intentions, are turning into anti-American cabals. And irony supreme, it will be helped along by American taxpayer funds. Yes, the ICC will be financed by our tax dollars.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for the Washington Times.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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