U.S. War Crimes to finally be investigated

After 16 years of committing war crimes in Afghanistan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is opening a criminal investigation of the U.S. military and CIA.

Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian jurist who has been the ICC’s chief prosecutor since 2012, confirmed earlier suspicions that the United States would be implicated in the probe. The decision marks the first time the ICC under Bensouda will investigate American forces and operatives.
In a statement, Bensouda clarified that alleged “war crimes by members of the United States armed forces” and “secret detention facilities in Afghanistan” used by the CIA justified the court’s investigation. Earlier this month, she had announced that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed” in Afghanistan but had declined to specify by whom.
On Monday, she named the U.S. armed forces and the CIA among a roster of probe targets that also included the Taliban and its affiliated Haqqani network, as well as the Afghan National Security Forces

The United States is one of few nations that never submitted to the authority of the ICC, which was created in 2002.
However, Afghanistan is a member, and that's where many of our war crimes took place (and continue to take place).

But U.S. citizens can still be charged for relevant crimes they commit in other member states.

That means YOU: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Obama, and numerous generals and CIA officials.

Some of you may be thinking that we'll manipulate or just undermine the ICC, the same way we do the U.N. when it doesn't act according to our wishes. However, that is not an option in this case.

But the United States lacks the leverage to achieve such a goal as it is not a party to the Rome Statute, meaning that it does not have the rights and access to the ICC that a member state has. Defunding the court is also not an option because the ICC receives no U.S. funds.
Meanwhile, nearly all U.S. allies are members of the court. They not only fund it but also have populations that strongly support it. These countries are likely to rebuff pressure from Washington to delegitimize the court, as they did during George W. Bush’s first term in office. At the time, John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, oversaw a strategy of what he called the “Three No’s.” This approach, he had said, meant “no financial support, directly or indirectly; no collaboration; and no further negotiations with other governments to improve the Rome Statute.” And its goal was to “maximize the chances that the ICC will wither and collapse, which should be our objective.” It didn’t work.

If you think the Afghani puppet government is going to impede the investigation and defend the American occupation forces, think again.

"She's right to launch such an investigation," says Karzai, referring to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Karzai also acknowledges that there were human rights violations during his government, and possibly under his watch. "Definitely, there were violations by the Afghan security forces, by the US, and by others," he says.

Some of you may be wondering what took so long? Why now after all this time?
It's because every single indictment of the ICC over the first 15 years was against an African country. Eventually the bias became to obvious and there was blowback.

Since the inception of the International Criminal Court more than a decade ago, only Africans have been brought to trial.
That fact has led to frequent accusations of bias by the first permanent tribunal set up to prosecute the worst atrocities on earth — war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
Last week, South Africa and Burundi announced that they were leaving the ICC, raising concern among human rights defenders about a potential exodus from the embattled court.

South Africa stepped back from leaving the ICC, but the threat remains. If the ICC doesn't start prosecuting non-Africans then the legitimacy of the ICC is in doubt.
Thus the Afghanistan war crimes investigation is absolutely necessary if the ICC is to survive.

So this investigation is going to happen. We cannot stop it.

The ICC war crimes investigation might only be the start.

The International Criminal Court very recently issued an arrest warrant for a militia leader in Libya which should catch the attention of U.S. policymakers, diplomats and prosecutors because of the possibility that his most senior commander—an American citizen by the name of Khalifa Haftar—ordered soldiers to commit war crimes. So has General Haftar been telling his subordinates to carry out the very acts that are part of the International Court’s arrest warrant, such as summary executions? Alex Whiting raised that prospect in a recent article at Just Security. Now startling video evidence of General Haftar’s potentially doing just that has emerged, we can report.

Why should this matter to America? Because Haftar is an American citizen and CIA asset.
And then there is this.

Chris Murphy Accuses U.S. of Complicity in War Crimes from the Floor of the Senate

I personally welcome our future Nuremberg-style war crime trials. We've got it coming.

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45 users have voted.

Comments

Steven D's picture

They could have done this at anytime. Why now?

I find it hard to believe they are solely bowing to pressure from South Africa.

And I wonder how serious an investigation will be. Are they just going to look at lower level people and stop?

Call me still skeptical if hopeful.

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16 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

k9disc's picture

discord across the planet. Seems like simple "National Defense".

Maybe people are sick of being bullied. The fact that our people have no cash to consume might have something to do with it. Not to mention that our banksters have gone international and, I would imagine, hold most of the worst financial derivatives.

@Steven D

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20 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

@Steven D

Why now?

I find it hard to believe they are solely bowing to pressure from South Africa.

South Africa carries much of Africa with it. SA leaving would take most of the continent with it.
Now imagine the ICC without being able to enforce its judgements on the continent which is it's favorite target. The ICC loses its relevancy.

The ICC either expands its focus or dies.

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15 users have voted.

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15 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

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10 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

....

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16 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

@divineorder maybe soon

Four Palestinian human rights groups have submitted a 700-page communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC), alleging that high-level Israeli officials have been complicit in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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17 users have voted.

can, or has, the ICC imposed?

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9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@jim p

there's an faq at the un site which says:

11. Will the Court be able to impose the death penalty? Isn't that the most effective deterrent?

Consistent with international human rights standards, the International Criminal Court has no competence to impose a death penalty. The Court can impose lengthy terms of imprisonment of up to 30 years or life when so justified by the gravity of the case. The Court may, in addition, order a fine, forfeiture of proceeds, property or assets derived from the committed crime.

Deterrence is not just effected by the death penalty. Deterrence is brought about by the entire criminal justice process from investigation, followed by prosecution, trial, delivery of the judgement, sentencing and punishment. The publicity associated with a trial will have an additional deterrent effect.

i found another article that is largely about the icc's perceived over-focus on african suspects which may yield some information about sentences that the court has imposed. in a quick skim of the beginning of the article, i found this:

The harshest penalty imposed by the court, to this date, is the fourteen-year imprisonment sentence issued to Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who was convicted of war crimes.

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@joe shikspack
Outside of China, Iran, KSA, and the U.S. almost no one puts people to death anymore.
The ICC is based in Europe.

That being said, if say Cheney get convicted of War Crimes, it would be nice to know that he could never leave America again for fear of arrest.
It's not enough, but it's something. Which is more justice than we have today.

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13 users have voted.
Deja's picture

@gjohnsit
. . .except, then, we'd be left holding the financial bag for him until death.

In my fantasy world, he, and all his murderous, hate-filled buddies (Killary and Dronebama included), would spend the rest of their lives in Guantanamo - with surviving members of the victims' families they tortured, vaporized, and starved, as their caretakers .

I do love me some karma, even if it's just in fantasy.

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12 users have voted.

"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

mimi's picture

@Deja @Deja @gjohnsit
and therefore should be a 'no, no' for any decent court. If the ICC would accept the death penalty as an option of punishment, it became itself a "criminal" court, imo.

And it's pretty telling that the ICC is not courageous enough to actually go against the "big, more or less not so white, war criminals" in our times and just sticked to the "little more browny ones" so far. Let's see if and how that may change. Remember also, that one tribe's war criminals, are another tribe's revolutionary heroes. I mean you just can't do anything reasonable with those humans. They are just a complete misconfiguration of God's trolls.

Sigh.

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5 users have voted.

"“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” - Ghandi

Pluto's Republic's picture

@mimi

If the ICC would accept the death penalty as an option of punishment, it became itself a "criminal" court, imo.

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3 users have voted.
dervish's picture

@mimi if it can't or won't go after the real criminals, or impose appropriate penalties.

The only lesson any reasonable person could ever draw from Nuernberg is "don't lose a war". The victors will bend and break any rules they choose, another benefit of being "exceptional".

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3 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

mimi's picture

@dervish
Radovan Karadzic. He got a life sentence for genocide and war crimes. That's not a farce, imo. Even if Karadzic would appeal the sentence, the trial itself was not a farce, just took too long.

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4 users have voted.

"“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” - Ghandi

dervish's picture

@mimi Why are some war criminals punished, while others are allowed to run free? What are the criteria for who receives punishment and who gets immunity?

The court is a joke because international law doesn't apply to everyone.

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1 user has voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

SnappleBC's picture

I'm guessing that right now at the desks of WaPo a team of writers is diligently assembling the story about how anonymous sources within the intelligence community say, "We have proof that actors connected to Russia are behind these charges."

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18 users have voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

@SnappleBC
Putin has become Emmanual Goldstein

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12 users have voted.
NonnyO's picture

... the process of arresting, charging, filing appeals, and otherwise getting these horrible cretins into an actual courtroom could mean they'll die before they ever go to trial. These people are as old, or older, than me. They'll get a doctor's excuse, if nothing else. Cheney could plead that his donor heart isn't working..., but..., he's still alive, so that's a lie.

If these war crimes trials happen (and I'm hoping beyond hope they do; you can't imagine how much I want these trials to happen!), it's going to cost me a whopping lot of money... for a fainting couch and smelling salts.

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13 users have voted.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute ..., where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. — President John F. Kennedy, Houston, TX, 12 September 1960

@NonnyO
Paying a few million for war crimes is a bargain.

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9 users have voted.
Steven D's picture

@NonnyO and we don't recognize it's judgments in the US. The bad publicity would be the major factor. It would demonstrate that even our buddies in the EU have had enough (even if many of them are complicit as well - See, e.g., France/Libya).

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6 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Pluto's Republic's picture

Therefore it does not exist.

The United States is not a participant in the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is a permanent international criminal court, founded in 2002 by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute) to "bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humankind – war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide", especially when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.

As of November 2016, 124 states are members of the Court.[2] Countries that have not signed or ratified the Rome Statute include India, Indonesia, and China. On May 6, 2002, the United States, in a position shared with Israel and Sudan, having previously signed the Rome Statute, formally withdrew its intent of ratification.

United States policy concerning the ICC has varied widely. The Clinton Administration signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but did not submit it for Senate ratification. The George W. Bush Administration, the U.S. administration at the time of the ICC's founding, stated that it would not join the ICC. The Obama Administration subsequently re-established a working relationship with the Court as an observer, but under the Trump Administration, the Rome Statute remains unratified by the United States.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_and_the_International_Crimin...

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Deja's picture

@Pluto's Republic
Now I feel like Princess Leah, uploading a video into R2D2, for delivery to Obi Wan Kinobe. Our only hope?

Forgive the spelling - my spellcheck is turned off.

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9 users have voted.

"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

@Pluto's Republic
It means any ruling of theirs doesn't effect people living in the U.S.

However the crimes were committed in countries that were members of the ICC.
So the ICC can investigate, have a trial, and impose sentences for anyone convicted if they leave the U.S.

Remember Pinochet?

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10 users have voted.
Big Al's picture

"Earlier this month, she had announced that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed” in Afghanistan but had declined to specify by whom."

Reasonable basis my ass. When there is zero acknowledgement that the entire war and occupation of Afghanistan has been a war crime and that it leads directly to Bush, Obama, and now Trump and their key executives like the Secretaries of State, National Security Advisors, DOD chiefs, etc., then you know it's just a bunch of bullshit to cover the primary war criminal's rear ends.

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6 users have voted.

@Big Al
It's not a joke. It's the way they talk.

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8 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

because there isn't a lick of it in the US.

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9 users have voted.

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