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.