Saturday, March 26, 2011

United States Double Standards?

Defenseless civilians should never be target for political and military persecution in any jurisdiction. Thus, for militarily targeting civilians, Mr. Qaddafi should be condemned in no uncertain terms and most importantly he should be held legally responsible for any civilian casualties that may occur as a result his actions. 

My interest in the ongoing Libyan crisis is United State’s response to the kind/type of legal responsibility Mr. Qaddafi should face for alleged civilian causalities. Members of the U.S political establishment as well as the media have been busy within the last week advocating that Mr. Qaddafi should be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer to his alleged crimes. Under normal circumstances, such calls would have been uneventful because it is just for this reason that the World Community instituted the International Criminal Court through the Rome Statute of 1998. We as a World Community felt that it was about time we moved away from ad hoc tribunals to a permanent international criminal body to deal with alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and acts of genocide. 

These ideas were all in good faith because never again did we want to see the massacres of the Second World War, the butchery of thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis in Rwanda. And it was felt among other things that a permanent ICC will serve as a deterrent to the many dictators around the world who too often resort to mass murder at the slightest challenge to their rule. However, right from 1998 when the Rome Statute, the ICC’s enabling treaty was adopted, the United States together with China, Iraq, Israel, Libya and Qatar have opposed major components of the International Criminal Court. In addition to other important international legal norms such as The Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the United States has refused to ratify the ICC treaty citing concerns such as the supremacy clause of the U.S Constitution, State/Federal Rights and U.S domestic political issues. They have also argued that the administrative structure of the ICC lack proper checks and balances to potentially subject U. S citizens to it jurisdiction.

Since the ICC came into force in 2002, the United States has vigorously pursued Article 98 agreements with numerous countries around the world that enjoins such countries from ever extraditing any U.S personnel to the ICC if they should be indicted by the ICC prosecutor.  

The million dollar question is, If the ICC is not worth support and ratification why is the U.S strongly advocating that Mr. Qaddafi should be brought before it? This position clearly smacks of double standards. With one breath the U.S is refusing to subject their citizens to the ICC, yet they think a citizen of another nation should be put before the ICC. I couldn’t help but think of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

1 comment:

  1. In many ways, the U.S. is caught up in a web of George orwell's "Animals Farm" thinking where the modus operandi is 'four legs good, two legs bad.' It is with this same level of thinking that Fareed Zakaria suggests in "The Post-American World" could isolate the U.S. from among the international community while leaving the citizens of the U.S. with the vain belief that it remains the one and only superpower.

    it will be essential for the U.S. to recognize the sovereignty of other nations, the rights that other nationals have to chart a course for their own destinies. Even after over 200 years of uninterrupted process towards democratic governance, the U.S. cannot claim to have a perfect political system that assures free participation of all citizens. It is about time the U.S. behaved as one of the countries in the world that constitute the international community, who are all seeking to provide their citizens with greater access to participate in the governance of their lives. I believe what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, and that democracy in the U.S. cannot be superior to, but different from democracy in other countries to the extent that cultural and socio-political conditions are different.