By Sigrid Weidenweber
The International Criminal Court at its inception was the brainchild of lawyers, mostly of the European Union and the United Nations. The notion of an overarching judicial body to adjudge the world’s most heinous crimes seemed an attractive, logical solution to crimes so enormous, to be deemed crimes against all of humanity.
The court, (ICC) was instituted in March 2019 and began functioning on 1 July 2002. It is based on the Roman Statute and has 124 Member States associated with its mandate.
Soon after its inception certain infringements on other countries judicial sovereignty became obvious, and the United States, China and a few African countries broke from the court’s mandate, while other nations are inactive members.
The U. S. soon found that the (ICC) was bent, using its mandate to declare American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan to be war criminals, even though the U.S. has a well-functioning justice system and courts that adjudicate any crimes committed by Americans.
In my, I must admit, cursory research on the Internet, I found many details about the courts objectives to bring international criminals to justice, many statements about its governing administrative body, and details of its functions—however, I could not find one detail about the election of the judges to the court, nor any mention of why and who got elected to the offices of judges. Only one mention was made that positions are filled internally through votes acquired from colleagues.
This seems to be a very arbitrary system. As we, the public, know so little about the international almighty judges, I question many things, among them, their political and cultural background, their education, home-life, mental health and system of logical thinking. In America we insist that even our jurors should be chosen from a group of our peers, so how can one expect a judge from a totally different cultural, religious and educational background sitting in judgement of, or understand the split-second reasoning of a highly trained American, or other soldier, in a battle situation?
Fortunately, three American presidents, resisted the International courts inquiry into our army’s business. The Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, more vigorously by some than others, curtailed the ICC’s prosecution of U.S. nationals.
“But only the Trump administration took active steps to prevent an investigation or prosecution from happening.” I am quoting Eugene Kontorovich in the Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2019. Kontorovich states further that the Trump administration’s foreign policy team scored a big victory in the The Hague last Friday that will protect American soldiers from illegitimate and unaccountable foreign prosecution.
The International Criminal Court finally dropped a more than a decade-long inquiry into alleged crimes by U. S.
Soldiers in Afghanistan.
So, why after all this time did the court change its mind?
Because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U. S. would deny a visa to the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda and, perhaps, other court officials.
The United States and most other non-European military powers had never accepted the courts jurisdiction. A wise decision, considering that the court, neglecting real crimes in undemocratic countries, jumped instantly into a witch-hunt of American personnel. That, despite the court’s own statute, stating that the ICC can only prosecute when “a country is unwilling or unable” to prosecute its own citizens, who are accused of war crimes.
The value of this court has been thrown into doubt. Despite massive amounts of funding, only four people of mass-atrocity crimes have been convicted. Many high-profile cases led to nothing. The former prosecutor of the ICC, Louis Moreno Ocampo had been enmeshed in scandal. Other criticisms from countries and states, stem from objections to its jurisdiction, its obvious bias, lacking in fairness, its case selection, trial procedures and doubt about its effectiveness.
Sigrid Weidenweber grew up in communist East Berlin, escaping it using a French passport. Ms. Weidenweber holds a degree in medical technology as well as psychology and has course work in Anthropology. She is co-founder of Aid for Afghans. Weidenweber has traveled the world and lived with Pakistani Muslims, learning about the culture and religion. She is a published author and lecturer. You can find her books on Amazon.com