A Giant Step Towards Declaring American Soldiers War Criminals | American Center for Law and Justice

American Soldiers War Criminals?

By David French1427992131212

Yesterday, the International Criminal Court “welcomed” Palestine as a “State Party” to the Rome Statute, the international treaty governing the ICC. Most of the coverage focused on the implications for Israel, as the PA has declared its intentions to file complaints against Israel for its conduct in the 2014 Gaza conflict. A non-ideological ICC would laugh these claims out of court on a number of grounds — including that Israel goes far beyond the historic requirements of the Law of Armed Conflict in its concern for minimizing civilian casualties and because it has its own robust means of investigating and punishing alleged war crimes. A non-ideological ICC would focus on Hamas’s consistent intentional war crimes, including deliberately targeting civilians, its use of civilians and civilian buildings to shield its own military activities, and its refusal to fight in uniforms or other distinctive insignia to help distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. The list could go on. For Hamas, war crimes represent the totality of their military strategy.

But it would be a profound mistake for Americans (or the Obama administration and successor administrations) to believe that ICC proceedings are relevant only to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. If the ICC prosecutes Israelis, it will establish legal precedents that can then be wielded against Americans. Though the U.S. does not formally subject itself to ICC jurisdiction, a key State Department official has said that the U.S. respects the “object and purpose” of the Statute, and other State Parties could treat U.S. soldiers as international criminals. Moreover, negative legal precedents would purport to establish new standards for the Law of Armed Conflict that military and political leaders would likely impose against American forces in the field — limiting our freedom of action and costing more lives.

And why would legal findings against Israelis implicate Americans? Because – as I’ve said before – Israel often imposes stricter rules of engagement on its own forces than our government imposes on American troops. I know this from first-hand experience. If Israeli commanders (and their advising military lawyers) are war criminals for executing strikes in civilian areas against terrorists fighting amongst civilians, then I’m a war criminal. Then thousands of Americans are war criminals. Is it illegal for Israel to strike Hamas in Gaza –destroying civilian buildings and killing civilians — but lawful for America to strike the Islamic State in Syria – also destroying civilian buildings and killing civilians?

As much as the Obama administration loves to isolate, pressure, and shame our closest Middle East ally, it can’t avoid the reality of a connected world — including the influence of international legal precedent on American military doctrine and American military personnel. A legal attack on Israeli tactics is, ultimately, a legal attack on American tactics, and the administration must respond accordingly.

This article is crossposted on National Review.

You Cannot Bully Israel at the U.N.

Israel  Signatures

LOGIN

Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.

$20
$40
$60
$120
$240
Make this a monthly Tax-Deductible gift.

We're taking direct action, sending a critical legal letter to defend Israel. Stand with us. Have your tax-deductible gift doubled today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from the ACLJ.
Encourage your friends to sign and donate by sharing this petition.
Latest in
Constitution

The ACLJ Needed Now More Than Ever: The Constitution

By Jordan Sekulow1619445540000

The following is the final installment of a six-part series focusing on why the ACLJ is needed now more than ever to protect the victories we’ve achieved and beat back the ominous challenges we now face under the Biden Administration. At the ACLJ, we will always have a clear eyed view of the...

read more

President Trump Acquitted Again (Sekulow Recap)

By Jordan Sekulow1613425682715

The second impeachment trial of President Trump in the U.S. Senate has concluded, and just as we predicted, President Trump was acquitted . . . again. Today on Sekulow , we discussed the end of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. In a result that surprised no one, President Donald...

read more

Did House Impeachment Managers Falsify Evidence? (Sekulow Recap)

By Jordan Sekulow1613171494333

Did House impeachment managers actually falsify evidence of another private citizen during the impeachment trial? Today on Sekulow , we discussed this week in the Senate impeachment trial. Today, President Trump’s attorneys began their presentations. We’re on day four of the Senate impeachment...

read more

Day 3: How Much Longer Will the Impeachment Trial Last? (Recap)

By Jordan Sekulow1613081841323

The unconstitutional impeachment trial continues. How much longer will it last? Today on Sekulow , we discussed the Senate impeachment trial, as the House impeachment managers put on their full attack on President Trump, trying to make a connection between the President’s words and the horrific...

read more

American Center for Law and Justice | Washington D.C. | Copyright © 2021, ACLJ | Privacy & Security Policy | Annual Report

The ACLJ is an organization dedicated to the defense of constitutional liberties secured by law.

Visit ACLJ.org/help to submit a legal help request. All legal requests submitted via any other method cannot be answered.

Through our $1 Million Matching Challenge, all gifts will be doubled, dollar-for-dollar, up to the online daily total.

American Center for Law and Justice is a d/b/a for Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, Inc., a tax-exempt, not-for-profit, religious corporation as defined under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights. The Center's purpose is to engage legal, legislative and cultural issues by implementing an effective strategy of advocacy, education and litigation to ensure that those rights are protected under the law. The organization has participated in numerous cases before the Supreme Court, Federal Court of Appeals, Federal District Courts, and various state courts regarding freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Your gift is very much appreciated and fully deductible as a charitable contribution. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained by writing to us at P.O. Box 90555, Washington, DC 20090-0555.