The United States and the World - The ICC Question

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Lord Bane, Jul 14, 2002.

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  1. Lord Bane Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 26, 1999
    star 5
    (As written by StarFire)

    Before we get this thread on the road, there are a few of guidelines.

    There will not be:

    - references to 'you Europeans' or 'you Americans'; this is a policy debate which concerns facts, not popular opinion
    - references to fresh guano
    - insults or jabs at any culture
    - scratching, biting, or any contact below the belt

    Just play nice, and take a lot of breaks.

    ---

    Now, the order of business: The International Criminal Court and the United States of America's refusal to join it.

    Here's how it is. The International Criminal Court conflicts with the United States Constitution (the basis for our entire system of government) in a number of ways, but most importantly with Article III in that it usurps the role of the US Supreme Court as the, well, supreme court.

    We (and I mean the United States government) could change our Constitution. A little edit here, leave out a few words there. We could do it (ignore for now the years it would take to harangue out the new version, not to mention the large number of laws that might well have to be changed). But the fact of the matter is, there's no motivation.

    What do we gain by joining the ICC?
    Absolutely nothing. The 'World' needs the US to be in the ICC, but the US already has an efficient system for dealing with its own soldiers.

    What do we lose?
    We lose sovereignty over our citizens in the military; we risk corruption in ICC unduly punishing our armed forces; we lose even more initiative in that we give the UN bureaucracy another finger in our affairs.

    What possible motivation is there? The US would just weaken itself and opens itself up for retribution by any who may bear a grudge.

    Now, go forth and discuss.
  2. Sarajevo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2002
    star 3
    Whats the difference between an American trial and one by the ICC. I mean is the jury made up by people from all the countries insed of just Americans? Sorry if this is a stupid question. [face_blush]
  3. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    Now this is the kind of topic I like...

    I just want to include one more thing we could lose, and that is legal control over our own citizens. For now it is just the military, but I see this as just a step towards the UN having supremacy over the US Government in every way.

    I know I used to think this to a extent, but do you really think that if the world unites under one government that Vulcans will really come down here?

    I see no benefit to a worldwide government at this time.
  4. Ramius Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 3
    Whats the difference between an American trial and one by the ICC.

    Yes, I would like to know this too. Also, I think our military would, should the need arise, deal with crimes, if any, commited by our soldiers. Anyone remember the movie Rules of Engagement? They sure as hell prosecuted Tommy Lee Jones's character.
  5. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    No one has been able to show why the US needs to be covered under the ICC.

    The main difference is that the Judges would be from outside of the US.

    However, I forgot a major point in this debate.

    What the US wants is an agreement that is very common in the world community. Before a country sends troops to a friendly foriegn country, they ususally estabish an agreement whereby the military people will be tried by their own people. The European community does this all the time, I don't know why they are being so hipocritical on this issue.
  6. Darth_Drunk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2002
    star 1
    It was Samuel L Jackson who was on trial and the book was way better.

    The ICC as far as I know would have a triumverate, with no joice for a jury. Also, there is no protection against Double Jeopardy.
  7. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    Here's an article from the NY Times agree or disagree this is part of the US reasoning

    The abusive behavior of the U.N.'s Bosnian War Crimes tribunal with regard to an American journalist prefigures what it is to come after the new International Criminal Court comes into being in July, and only confirms the wisdom of America's refusal to sign on to the ICC.


    With its typical contempt for American sensibilities, the tribunal is now trying to force a retired Washington Post correspondent, Jonathan Randal, to testify in a case against a Serbian official implicated in ethnic cleansing.

    Randal's interview with this official was printed years ago, so his presence is hardly vital to the prosecution.

    He rightly doesn't want to appear in court, because he knows that if war reporters like himself become witnesses in international prosecutions it would put the trade at risk.

    Dictators like Slobodan Milosevic would see all journalists as potential legal witnesses and try even harder to keep them out of war zones - allowing horrors and atrocities to go undiscovered - or might even try to kill them.

    The European U.N. judges - from countries without a First Amendment - just don't get this, and are furious that Randal, a mere journalist and an American to boot, would dare defy them.

    You can expect the International Criminal Court judges to behave the same arrogant, foolish way - or worse - when it comes, say, to U.S. troops serving as peacekeepers abroad.

    After all, anti-American attitudes among the European elites are hardly a secret these days. Besides which, most U.N. constituent bodies have been little more than sick hypocritical jokes - e.g., the U.N. Human Rights Commission, whose members now include such exemplar states as Sudan, Syria and Libya.

    All too often, such international organizations serve as a forum for the bashing of America and Israel by savage dictatorships that haven't the slightest acquaintance with justice or democracy.

    The ICC would be especially bad, because there would be no checks on its power.

    This is why President Bush and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld are so adamant in their rejection of the ICC treaty. They have also told the United Nations that if American peacekeepers are liable to ICC prosecution then there won't be any U.S. participation in U.N. peacekeeping.

    They're absolutely right. As we have said all along, the International Criminal Court is a recipe for disaster.


    I can't say I don't blame Bush. Many of these commissions are quite flawed and the US feels no representation in them and their sensibilities and standards. I saw some sort of headline where some compromise had been reached from the ABC newsline but alas I didn't get a chance to read it, and in the morning it was gone. So I don't know if it was a rumor or if the compromise was withdrawn. Perhaps someone else might know as CNN and foxnew's archives aren't up to date.
  8. Admiral_Thrawn60 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 6
    Whats the difference between an American trial and one by the ICC. I mean is the jury made up by people from all the countries insed of just Americans?

    The ICC and the world is afraid that the American government may not properly punish American war criminals. The ICC is a world court, and is designed to be less biased than the American courts may be. The judges in the ICC would not just be American judges.

    Personally, I think that the USA should join, becuase American war criminals should not be treated any differently than war criminals from other countries.
  9. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Let's look at how the ICC judges are selected (for reference, here is a list of signatories).

    Each nation receives one vote. A candidate is selected if two-thirds of the signatories affirm the selection.

    They cast their vote by secret ballot.

    That calls for an emphatic [face_plain]

    There are no real safeguards in place to prevent the mutual backscratching and horsetrading of votes that will occur. The poorer countries will soon begin voting in one bloc (which we won't know about, since the voting is secret) for mutual benefit (frequently at the expense of the richer nations, no doubt).

    This is certainly cause for celebration for the poorer countries of the world. But it gives only more motivation for the United States to refuse to sign. Why should the United States stick out her wrist and hand some of her former rivals, not to mention the current ones, a razor blade to slit them with if they please?

    I see no major fault with the United States' current system for dealing with citizens who commit war crimes. At least they're guaranteed due process.
  10. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    Review the facts before making the blind assumption of
    War Criminals= bad
    Prosecuting them= good
    That may be true but add into the equation
    bad courts=????
    the answer is bad. A bad system = corruption. Just because you want to prosecute war criminals doesn't mean you join any organization that comes along. Read the article, and listen to some of the downfalls of the ICC.
  11. xian-me Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2002
    It may be because of the high number of espionage that the american government works in. If an American is found undercover, it will reflect badly on America, and the ICC could place harder juedgements against the US in terms of trade or travel. They wouldn't want to risk it. Anti-american sentinment is also at an all-time high, and who's to say that the ICC would be truely unbiased?
  12. phantom31415 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2002
    star 1
    I think a European nowspaper columnist summed it up best. I'm sorry I can't remember the exact quote or the source, but it went something like this:

    "The problem is that Americans do not want to be subject to any laws but their own."

    Exactly. We left Britain so we would be subject to our own laws, made by our democratically elected leaders. I will not be subject to a bunch of corrupt UN judges who I had no say in electing, who are not my peers, and are subject to no restrictions by the U.S.

    The U.N. is proving to be more and more dangerous. I suggest everyone, regardless of political opinion, pay careful attention.
  13. xian-me Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2002
    Phantom31415,

    You are right. I think most large goverening bodies are more interested in personal power and glory than justice and fairness. All goverenments right now need one heck of a major facelift and reassembly. The UN would pose the most problems because almost everyone wants to join it like it's some elite club, and there is no country in the world, no matter how much they'd like to, that can truely stand up to the UN.
  14. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Just some quick comments:

    Coolguy: what you are refering to is called the SOFA(status of forces agreement). It outlines what crimes US service members can be tried for by the host country and who has first jurisdiction. It doesn't automatically mean that US personnel will be tried by a US justice system.

    Secondly, The US military already has a well established code of laws that governs the conduct of service members. Its called the UCMJ. There is no behavior that the ICC covers that is not already adressed by the UCMJ.

    Xian- cilvilan spies such as CIA agents are not covered by the UCMJ, so I don't think espionage would even be addressed by the ICC.

    Although the ICC would legally cover all those who sign, the INTENT is to try those agents whose countries either cannot or are unwilling to bring charges against a specific individual who is charged with a grand crime.

    This would theoretically eliminate most countries (read between the lines,western powers) who have established legal systems anyway.

    The ICC covers WAR crimes, not individual actions such as a solider stealing a car.

    I served a year tour in Korea and 7 months in Bosnia, as a memeber of the Army. In the area I was stationed, 99% of the homes didn't even have running water, and most homes had big chunks missing from the walls.

    There was no effective functioning government, besides what the US, Norway and Sweden provided. They were simply not physcally equiped to handle any kind of legal matters internally. Where would those with claims go, besides a international court?
  15. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    At this time, I would have to agree with all those who have supported staying out of the ICC.

    The UN has too often been used as an anti-US and Israeli platform, as the NY Times article suggested. Many countries dislike the US, and allowing the unchecked court to prosecute US soldiers would simply give a legal punch to those who wish to humiliate americans.

    On top of that, the Judge Advocate General's Office is very diligent in prosecuting misconduct, along with other military courts. America may not be perfect, but we have a fairly solid record of keeping our armed forces clean and punishing those who commit crimes while in uniform. There is simply no basis for impugning the integrity of the US armed forces, as many countries worldwide seem to be implicating by demanding US participation in the court.

    Everyone says the US is acting too much like a hegemon. Everyone needs to get off our backs. Show me the court will be fair, with checks and balances, limitations of power, and a solid appeals process, and I will support it.

    But not now.

    V-03
  16. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I would also like to add, to those that doubt the intent of the Westernized powers during peacekeeping missions, I can personally account for the good that the joint SFOR missions have accompished.

    We built roads, provided medical care, and offered safehavens for the people to start rebuilding their lives.

    Our sector was jointly ran. The NORPOL and Canadian units that the US worked with extremely professional and became like brothers. For the most part, international differences were eliminated and it was a great learning experience.

    Was everything perfect, no. Accidents happened and there was some conflict. I can list two countries that I thought were simply horrible, but I won't name them specifically to avoid conflict.

    All I know is that we did everything with the best of intentions and with the deepest sincerity.
  17. xian-me Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2002
    The CIA are not the only memebers of the US government that uses espionage. The military does, as well. Too much technicality could let a spy in a foriegn country be tried in that country, or by the ICC, in unideal circumstances. I'm not saying that the idea isn't right, but would you let that happen to your people?

    I lived in Korea for 10 1/2 years straight, 11 and half years altogether, both as a military child and a DODd. SOFA is not perfect, but right now, it works, both agaisnt the military and civilians. I do not know if other countries have such standards, but personally, I think they should.

    The biggest problem is, and for now, boils down to politics. There is no way that I can believe that the people serving the ICC are pure from political agenda. They will always seek out their own and try to keep their punishment light. I'm not a huge patriot by any means, but I think they're doing the right thing, at least the best thing in their own interest [the USA.]
  18. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I agree with you, but I think its obvious that its that politcal agenda that kept the US out of the ICC.

    I think it might be off topic so I don't want to stay focused on it,

    but I mentioned the CIA example because most contries that I know of(including the US) have laws already governing the conduct of spies. Military or civilian personnel caught in the act of spying suffer different penalties. I don't know if the ICC address this, but I don't think it does( but I'm admittedly not sure)
  19. xian-me Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2002
    Oh, I agree with you that the US stays ut for political reasons. Everything I've said, I've said not out of defense for the country, just what I would think would be their p.o.v.

    It's all a bunch of hogwash, anyways. The world and it's systems do not work. I think, next time some one asks me where I'm from, I'm going to put Kamino. Just to mess with some poor census takers head.

    The ICC is nothing more than both the culmination and the ultimate symbol for the corruptness of the world.
  20. Ramius Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 3
    It was Samuel L Jackson who was on trial

    Yeah, I forgot. It's been a while since I've seen it. Jones was defending him.

    It is possible for our soldiers to commit crimes and no one know about it, but I doubt it will happen too often. I think it depends on the situation. If the U.S. is just camping around and fighting in little skirmishes here and there, then I think the opertunity of misconduct would be higher. But, if we have a real battle plan and take major action, you have soldiers who are kept occupied and doing their job to the best of their abilities. As long as the troops aren't bored or have low moral, they should be fine. Call me naive, but I still think they will have the brains to make the right decisions.
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Ramius,

    I think it would be extremely unlikely( but you are right not impossible) for a US servicemember to commit any kind of crime and not have it get noticed.

    Being a peacekeeper is like being a LA police officer. EVERYONE is constantly watching you. If you do not have your ducks in a row, SOMEBODY will hear about it.

    We would have people try and jump in front of our Humvee or push their cart into the road so we would run it over.. Why? because the US would pay their damages. We would constantly have to be on the alert.

    If some unlucky driver actually hit an ox-cart or something, there would be a crowd of 200 people instantly form and claim they "saw the whole thing."

    desperate people do desperate things, I guess. The only way to protect yourself was by being totally professional, 100% of the time.

  22. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    /wonders where all the trolls have gone

    I don't about the US, but I just got my information from a ambassador on NPR who was talking about how all sorts of countries make similar agreements before they go and help them, I think he said it was on a "bilateral" basis.
  23. imzadi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 4
    I'd like to point out that Australia has signed on the condition that our legal system takes precedence. Why can America not do the same?
  24. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    wonders where all the trolls have gone

    an excellent question....


    oh wait...


    I'm here ;) :p

    Most of us were sleeping it was 1:30 in the morning when the discussion started.

    Before I start off let me say one thing. This not much of a discussion is it? Everybody is against joining it. (Except Admiral Thrawn60)

    I see no benefit to a worldwide government at this time.

    not at this time, but the ultimate idea is world peace. How farfetched that may sound.

    The main difference is that the Judges would be from outside of the US.

    that's a valid point. Because the American judges might think:
    "He did his stuff for our country, who cares he killed some innocent Iraqi bastards*, he's innocent"

    *Sorry for the language, it's an example, don't flame me.

    But when a judge from the ICC will have a neutral point of view,

    Anti-american sentinment is also at an all-time high,

    true :p

    and who's to say that the ICC would be truely unbiased?

    Who's saying that US sytem is truely unbiased?

    I've nice little example before.

    Here's an article from the NY Times agree or disagree this is part of the US reasoning

    I think it's best if we use non-European and non-American article sources. There are clearly evidence of opinion.

    That article is clearly against ICC while the European articles are cleary for ICC.

    So when you're using an article please make it from a Canadian or an Australian newspaper...

    The articles should have a neutral aspect of ICC...

    A bad system = corruption. Just because you want to prosecute war criminals doesn't mean you join any organization that comes along. Read the article, and listen to some of the downfalls of the ICC.

    do you have proof it's corrupted?

    I could say the same thing about the American System.

    "You can easily bribe the judges"

    something like that

    corrupt UN judges

    again this "corrupt"

    The UN has too often been used as an anti-US and Israeli platform,

    I understand the anti-Israeli platform what they're doing against Palestina citizens isn't "normal". (but that's the wrong thread)

    The world and it's systems do not work.

    Do you have any proof off that? Again I could say the same thing about the US and it's system. I want proof.

    I think it would be extremely unlikely( but you are right not impossible) for a US servicemember to commit any kind of crime and not have it get noticed.

    I think it did happened before.

    The U.N. is proving to be more and more dangerous. I suggest everyone, regardless of political opinion, pay careful attention.

    I'm thinking the exact same thing about Bush and U.S goverment. I think he's like Palpatine. He's waiting for the right time to get ultimate power...

    I'd like to point out that Australia has signed on the condition that our legal system takes precedence. Why can America not do the same?

    nice point, imzadi :D
  25. SidiousDragon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 4
    I'm posting this for the third time: (for a thread which is now supposed to be neutral, the first post seems decidedly pro-American)

    From the BBC:

    "Supporters of the new global war crimes court have reacted with anger to a United Nations compromise that exempts American peacekeepers from any prosecution.
    The UN Security Council voted unanimously for the 12-month exemption - to be renewed annually - to end a bitter row threatening peacekeeping operations.

    Washington got only a temporary reprieve of dubious legality and a strong taste of global outrage

    Human Rights Watch
    Canada's ambassador to the UN, Paul Heinbecker, said the Security Council had exceeded its powers.

    But America warned of "serious consequences" if the International Criminal Court (ICC) ever arrested a member of the US military.

    The BBC's UN correspondent says the new resolution will have little practical effect on the court's work.

    But he says it has set the bad precedent of Security Council interference in an internationally agreed treaty.

    'Not in mandate'

    Ambassador Heinbecker told reporters: "We think this is a sad day for the United Nations.

    "We don't think it's in the mandate of the Security Council to interpret treaties that are negotiated somewhere else."

    The compromise resolution permitting the one-year exemption in investigating or prosecuting peacekeepers applies to countries, like the US, that do not support the ICC.

    Deal was not in Security Council's mandate, said Canada's ambassador

    But the possibility that the exemption would not be renewed brought a stiff warning from US Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte.

    "We cannot accept a structure that may transform the political criticism of America's world role into the basis for criminal trials of Americans who have put their lives on the line for freedom," he said.

    "Should the ICC eventually seek to detain any American, the United States would regard this as illegitimate.

    "No nation should underestimate our commitment to protect our citizens."

    President Bush's administration had been threatening to veto all future UN peacekeeping missions if the American military was not granted permanent immunity from the ICC.

    After the compromise Security Council resolution was passed, the UN's peacekeeping mandate in Bosnia was immediately renewed"



    Now, let me state this one more time:

    what makes the USA exempt. Don't tell me "our constitution" again, since you've ameded it many times for issues far less important than this.

    If the rest of the world agrees on it, why does the USA think its an evil ploy to control them? To supposedly, "take away its freedoms". Freedoms? HA! America isn't even a proper democracy! France is, and they're perfectly happy.

    Besides, if your military do not commit war crimes, what is there to be afraid of? The fact that the USA demands that other countries take part in the ICC, but refuses to do so itself, clearly demsonstrates that you fear it and have something to hide.


    And enought with this "the UN is evil" crap. You helped create it! The UN isn't a seperate political entity, its a gathering of world leaders, created to mediate world problems. The USA are the last country who should fear it, sicne the UN has consistently been biased in favour of the US. Look at what happened this week: although everybody except teh USA was in favour of the ICC and thought that the US stance was disgusting, they LET YOU OFF! How is that anti-US? You're the only country to consistently get your way, to consistently break the rules, yet you also consistently criticise the UN as an anti-American organisation.. Had it been any other country which had refused to take part in the ICC, you would probably have bombed it.

    Are you all paranoid or what?
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