12062019What's Hot:

Russia Cuts Ties With International Criminal Court, Calling It ‘One-Sided’

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia instructed his government on Wednesday to withdraw from the treaty that created the International Criminal Court, while his government assailed the tribunal as “ineffective and one-sided.”

The action was largely symbolic, because Russia — like the United States — has not ratified the treaty and is not under the court’s jurisdiction. But it was another setback for the fairly young court, which handles cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity and is an emblem of the international order that is being shaken by populist revolts across the West.

“Essentially, this is just a gratuitous slap in the face, not a body blow,” said Kate Cronin-Furman, a human rights lawyer and political scientist at the Harvard Kennedy School, who predicted that the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States would lead to more harm for the court.

Burundi, Gambia and South Africa moved recently to withdraw from the court, calling it biased because all the people it had convicted so far had been Africans or because, in the case of South Africa, it disagreed with the court’s mandate to prosecute any individual, including a head of state.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, tried on Wednesday to rally support for the court. “A new trend of isolationist and unprincipled leadership is building up across the world,” he said in an address to the General Assembly of the court’s member countries in The Hague. “Renewed attacks on the court may well be in the offing.”

Mr. al-Hussein has sharply criticized the divisive and racist rhetoric of several European right-wing politicians. Last month, he said that Mr. Trump would “without any doubt” be a threat to global stability if the president-elect stood by his campaign pledges to bar Muslims from entering the United States, to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to endorse the use of torture.

“In a world that seems increasingly adrift, the turmoil yet to face humanity may be far greater than any challenge we have yet experienced,” Mr. al-Hussein said on Wednesday. “We face a choice. We can safeguard our societies by standing firm on the principles of justice which anchor this institution. Or we can cast away the moorings of law laid down to save the world from horror.”

In announcing Russia’s withdrawal from the treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the court had failed to live up to expectations that it would serve as an impartial and authoritative arbiter of international law.

This week, the court’s top prosecutor called Russia’s annexation of Crimea an “ongoing state of occupation,” a judgment affirmed by a United Nations human rights committee, which reiterated the world body’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty over the Black Sea peninsula.

The ministry cited the court’s approach toward Russia’s brief war with Georgia in 2008. The court has said it would investigate possible war crimes in Georgia — which is a member of the court — by all parties, including Russian armed forces.

An even sharper rebuke to the Russian government came on Monday, when the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in a report that “the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol factually amounts to an ongoing state of occupation.”

Russia has insisted that its capture of Crimea was warranted by the legitimate popular vote of the Crimean people in a referendum.

The prosecutor’s report also said that the information available points to Russia’s direct military involvement in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, something that the Russian authorities have denied repeatedly.

“The Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian government,” the report said.

Russia might also be concerned about calls by Western officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, to have the court look into the bombing campaign in Syria.

The court is the world’s first international tribunal with permanent jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. It was founded in 1998, when 120 countries adopted the Rome Statute, and began operations in 2002. The court has headquarters in The Hague.

Mr. Putin directed Russia to sign the Rome Statute in 2000, but Parliament did not ratify it. The United States never ratified the Rome Statute, though the Obama administration has cooperated with the court’s proceedings.

Ms. Bensouda, the chief prosecutor, said this week that she was considering an investigation into allegations of war crimes, torture and related treatment by American military forces and intelligence agencies in Afghanistan, raising the prospect of a confrontation with the Trump administration.

“Given that the I.C.C. is a relatively young institution, and the norms surrounding it are not firmly entrenched, the loss of American leadership on accountability for mass atrocities could be profoundly damaging,” said Ms. Cronin-Furman, the human rights lawyer.

Vladimir Frolov, a scholar of international relations, called Russia’s move a “symbolic gesture” prompted by Ms. Bensouda’s report on Crimea.

“At the time when Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000, it wanted to be a part of the modern world,” he said. “Now it doesn’t.” He added that he believed that many of Russia’s actions in Syria could “potentially be subject to an investigation by this court.”

Source 1

Philippines' Duterte says may follow Russia's withdrawal from 'useless' ICC

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he might follow Russia and withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), citing criticism from Western nations for a rash of killings unleashed by his war on drugs.

Duterte described the ICC as "useless" and expressed frustration about the West's allegations of extrajudicial killings and its failure to understand his crackdown on narcotics. He also appeared to blame the United Nations for failing to prevent wars all over the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order removing Russia's signature from the founding treaty of the ICC on Wednesday, and Duterte said he might consider doing the same.

"They are useless, those in the international criminal (court). They (Russia) withdrew. I might follow. Why? Only the small ones like us are battered," Duterte said before his departure for Lima to attend an Asia-Pacific summit.

Duterte is seeking a meeting with Putin in Lima this weekend, which comes as he pursues an independent foreign policy aimed at weaning the Philippines off dependence on longtime ally the United States. He has frequently praised Russia and China.

Duterte, known for his frank statements, speculated that Russia's ICC move might be because of its air strikes in Syria.

"What could be the reason? I really would not know," he said. "Maybe to protect what they are doing in Syria, the incessant bombing and the killing of civilians."

Russia is under international pressure over the Syria air strikes, with some human rights activists and U.S. officials accusing it of bombing civilians and civilian targets. Russia has denied those allegations.

The ICC, which the Philippines became a member of in 2011, has received an ear-bashing from the outspoken Philippine leader, like all those who have showed concern about his war on drugs and the more than 2,400 people killed.

An ICC prosecutor last month said the Hague-based tribunal may have jurisdiction to prosecute the perpetrators of the killings.

Duterte said he was annoyed about the criticism he had received and that "nobody was listening" to his reasons for having the crackdown, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

He took aim at U.S. foreign policy and the United Nations and said he would be happier if China and Russia called the shots.

"You know, if China and Russia would decide to create a new order, I will be the first to join," he said.

"The killings is endless," he said, referring to conflicts in the past and current. "The amount is splattering. That is our lesson. Just because it is America, it does not mean that it is good."

Source 2

U.S. forces may have committed war crimes, says International Criminal Court

International prosecutor in The Hague says U.S. military may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has said U.S. forces may have committed war crimes in several countries.

The prosecutor’s office said in a report released on Monday that there is a “reasonable basis to believe” that prisoners held by U.S. forces were tortured in Afghanistan and at CIA detention facilities in Poland, Lithuania and Romania in 2003 and 2004.

Scores of detainees were subjected to “torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape,” the report said. “The information available suggests that victims were deliberately subjected to physical and psychological violence, and that crimes were allegedly committed with particular cruelty and in a manner that debased the basic human dignity of the victims.”

In addition, “these alleged crimes were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” the office said. “They appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence.'”

Fatou Bensouda, chief international prosecutor, said the office will likely pursue a full investigation, but “it is unlikely that the United States will cooperate,” The New York Times noted.

A State Department spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the government does not believe an International Criminal Court investigation would be “warranted or appropriate” and insisted that the U.S. respects international law.

The U.S. is not a member of the International Criminal Court. It refused to join when the court was created in 2003. Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland and Romania are all members, however, meaning that the court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in those countries.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. when the International Criminal Court was created, attacked the institution. Bolton is now being considered as a potential secretary of state for President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

Excerpts of a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report released in 2014 confirmed that the CIA committed torture in its detention and interrogation program from 2001 to 2006. The full report was never released, however, and may have been destroyed.

The International Criminal Court prosecutor’s office also said in its report that extremist Taliban forces and the Afghan government may have committed war crimes and used torture.

In October, the ongoing U.S. war in Afghanistan reached its 15th year. In an attack in early November, American airstrikes killed more than 30 Afghan civilians — in the same area where the U.S. bombed a hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders a year earlier.

The scope of the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s report barely scratches the surface of U.S. military intervention. It does not address the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. Nor does it include the the drone wars in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; the 2011 war in Libya; or the current bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria.

Human rights groups have previously accused the U.S. government of committing apparent war crimes in its covert drone war. The U.S. has used drones to kill thousands of people, including several U.S. citizens, without charge or trial.

Source 3

Source: ONTD_Political

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic