The International Criminal Court (ICC) has become a forum for assaulting freedom and the rule of law. It should surprise no one - and distress anyone who cares about democracy - that a criminal complaint has been filed against former US president George W. Bush, vice president Dick Cheney and much of the former US administration.
The complaint was filed by a radical professor from the University of Illinois College of Law, Francis Boyle, whose obsequious appeal to the ICC's prosecutor expresses "doubt... that the accused would have inflicted these criminal practices upon 100 white Judeo-Christian men."
Boyle, who has previously argued that the US should stop illegally occupying Hawaii, that Iran should sue the US to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities and sanctions, and that Israel practices genocide, accuses US officials of extraordinary rendition and torture, among other things.
The US is not a party to the ICC precisely because political considerations would make Americans the likely target of absurd attacks like Boyle's. Ridiculous as it is, however, because the complaint alleges that illegal acts occurred within nations that are parties to the ICC, the court's prosecutor could technically consider launching an investigation and eventually try to assert jurisdiction.
While it is unlikely that the US would ever extradite American officials to The Hague for trial, one never knows with the current administration. And either way, it puts former American officials, who must contemplate, at the very least, whether to hire legal counsel or to provide any sort of response, in a difficult position.
The Obama administration has taken a far more sympathetic view of the ICC and other international bodies that are critical of the US, while opening the door to possible domestic prosecutions for alleged torture. Yet, it would be a huge mistake not to condemn the latest effort to slander America at The Hague - not the least of which is because Obama is likely to face similar charges someday for the same "extraordinary rendition" practices.
Moreover, complaints like Boyle's are an attack on American sovereignty, our Constitution and the legitimacy of our legal system. The executive possesses certain constitutional Article II powers as commander-in-chief to wage war, and no foreign court should pronounce what the limitations of those powers are.
THE ICC craves credibility and legitimacy, which it cannot get without some degree of US support. The current administration should make it crystal clear that if the ICC pursues Bush officials, America will not cooperate with any investigation and it will preclude any possibility of future US cooperation or ratification of the Rome Statute.
Thus far, the administration, however, has refused to do so or to publicly speak out against efforts to use the same tactics against Israel, which has also refused to join the court due to political fears. The same left-wing post-colonialists who blame America for the world's ills, have been urging the court to prosecute Israelis for responding to terrorist attacks with military force in Gaza last year.
The campaign against Israel, embodied by the UN-sponsored Goldstone Report and the UK arrest warrant issued for former foreign minister and current Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, attempts to weaken Israel where political and military efforts have failed. No accusation is too bold for these armchair prosecutors to make or fact too insignificant to ignore in their attempts to isolate and discredit America and its most important ally.
In the end, this lawfare campaign is most likely to discredit bodies like the ICC for political and legal overreach, as well as the individuals attempting to use law as a political sword. At the very least, hopefully, it will awaken freedom-loving persons everywhere who believe in the sovereignty of nations and the inherent right of them to forcibly protect themselves from terrorism. Make no mistake, they are under attack.
Brett Joshpe is an attorney and author in New York City and is Of Counsel with The American Center for Law and Justice.
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