US troops eligible for international trials?

From Here.
This is possibly in the wrong forum. Could be a GQ–to verify what I think this is about & to see how common it is. Could be a GD–to acertain once and for all if it’s even a good idea for this to be a possibility. IMHO? MPSIMS?

so … fuck. There. Now it qualifies for The Pit–where the critical thinkers lie about & poison their sharpened wits (what is it that they say about Lynn Bodoni?)

As I’ve noted before, I am mentally impaired and maybe I just haven’t understood what this article is about. It seems to be saying that the US might have to at least nod to the authority of the international court in matters concerning the behavior of our men & women in uniform when they are abroad.

Excuse me? You mean, there was a possibility that they weren’t accountable to anyone other than our own judicial system? I kinda figured this was the point of an international court: to enforce certain international doctrines (let’s just use the Geneva Conventions as an example). To propose such an exclusion seems a little, well, arrogant if not even hypocritical. Surely I just don’t get it? How could anyone propose this exclusion and expect to be taken seriously? I would whip up my rage to that of even 7 or 8 Easy-Bake ovens if I was sure I had my facts straight…

Y’know what? I’m pretty sure I already do. So why don’t we just flip this around and flame Inigo for being so dumb as to not understand why the US thinks she has the right to suggest she deserves permission to act above international laws! My government (in general, a totally non-partisan shot … for now) embarasses me more with each passing day!

My overly simplistic and probably wrong take on it is that the USA’s argument was that the rest of the world doesn’t like America and/or freedom and will tell hateful lies about US troops in order to get them up on war crime charges.

The rest of the world has looked at the happenings in Iraq and said “you’re shittin’ us, pal”.

The ICC was set up to try war criminals when their own countries aren’t capable of doing so, like with Slobodan Milosovic. (And how well did that work out?)

The US position is two-fold: a) we have a fully-functional military justice system, and b) we weren’t a signatory to the treaties which set up the ICC in the first place.

Can US civilian contractors, not subject ot the UCMJ, be brought before the ICC? If so, does the ICC meet all the guaranteed rights of US citizens? If not, does the US Government have the authority to recognize the ICC as legitimate?

The procedures for civilians is the same as it’s always been; they are tried under the laws of the country the crime occurred in. If you commit a robbery in Mexico you get tried under Mexican law.

The US does not, and probably will not, recognize the ICC. The official position is that it impinges on national sovereignty.

Anybody can be brought before the ICC, providing their crime is committed in a state which has signed the treaty.
Does it meet all the guaranteed rights of US citizens? No. You don’t get a trial by jury, you are tried by a panel of judges, among other things. This is immaterial, though- the Constitution of the United States governs the relationship between the Federal Government, the States, and the people. The international justice system isn’t covered.
The government certainly has the authority to recognize the ICC as legitimate. It doesn’t constitute a “higher court”, because it can only try cases which are not being brought before SCOTUS.

I take that back. A non-signatory may accept the ICC’s competence in individual cases.

Really? I could have sworn we were sponsors, or at least signatories, for this and later withdrew our name (something many people found suspicious). Of course, my memory could be faulty, so when my connection is a little less fussy, I’ll try and dig up a cite.

– Imran

While perhaps a bit off topic, it is interesting to note that the Attorney General of the United Kingdom (a valued senior partner in the Collation of the Willing) has recently said that the military tribunals proposed for prisoners at Gittmo, some of whom are British subjects, are unacceptable. Also, maybe an international court is the appropriate forum for complaints against US personnel, armed forces and civilians, since the United States claims that the goings on a Gittmo are beyond the long jurisdictional arm of the federal courts.

I tried to start a thread on this in GD and after a moronic response from someone, it just sort of died.

Basically, the UN has ruled that these soldiers are not immune from war crimes prosecution. This is a major rejection of the US’s efforts to block that very thing from happening.

Were I a soldier facing charges of war crimes, I would roll over on every SOB who gave me orders to commit them, who would in turn roll on every SOB who ordered them to order others. I would suspect this has the White House sweating bullets.

If events were to follow Chefguy’s scenario, is there any chance at all- even the teensiest sliver of hope- that we might see GWB and company facing a war crimes tribunal? Is it even theoretically possible?

If such an event were to actually transpire it would cause me to reevaluate my current skepticism as to the existence of God.

Theoretically possible, yes. Possible in practice? Hardly. Dubya would have to appear in person at the proceedings- the ICC isn’t allowed to try anybody in absentia. Can you really see him submitting to the authority of the court? Moreover, when he refuses to appear, who the hell is going to make him?

Possibly Congress, but that would take a public revelation of overwhelming evidence against him- and even that might not work (see “Clarke, Richard”, and “9/11 Comission”)

Which has exactly zero significance. As a practical matter the UN can say whatever it likes, but has no supranational authority to back it up. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the ICC is a UN body anyway. I’m not sure about that, I’ll have to go look it up.

Bottom line: you aren’t going to see any US soldiers tried by the ICC, so you can stop worrying about/hoping for it.

We signed it but we didn’t ratify it. Signing means you won’t stand in its way, ratifying it means you make it a part of your own domestic legal proceedings and are willing to help move the court along (i think).

The US took back its signature a few years ago.

As far as fears of abuse of the ICC, they strike me as possible threats. Look at Israel and all the censure it faces in the general assembly and the commission of human rights at the UN

Britian ratified the ICC, now multiple groups are trying to bring them up on war crimes charges. Part of it is due to the use of cluster bombs. I am ok with legitimate prosecutions of valid war crimes but it strikes me like this is just an attempt to punish Britian for going into Iraq. Hence the fact that the US didn’t ratify the statute.

Signing is an indication that you intend to ratify the treaty and a promise that you will not violate the spirit of the treaty. Ratifying means that you are bound by the treaty; under the U.S. Constitution the treaty becomes the “supreme law of the land.” The historical reason for the two steps is that back when communication was slow, the diplomat involved in the negotiations would want to approve the treaty pending official approval from those in the government who had legal authority. In the case of the Rome Statute, it looked like the United States signed only to remain involved in designing the Court, without any real intention of joining.

There’s no real way to “take back” a signature. Legally, the US is still a signatory, but the Bush regime wanted to publicly announce their intention not to cooperate with the Court.

Well, wouldn’t that be a pretty thing! The ROTW (Rest Of The World) puts together a military coallition to assault DC & forcibly remove The POTUS. What an odd battle that would be! Half the country pissed off, the other half helping out (I know, such an invasion would probably be resisted even by the Bush-haters on principle alone, but this is MY fantasy) :slight_smile:

Personally, I’d do everything I could to help the ROTW.

But seriously, he’s only going to be POTUS for six more months. Would it be easier to arrest him after that.

Who’s going to arrest him?

Not Kerry, I can guarantee that.

He could end up like Kissinger and not be able to travel internationally for fear of being arrested, but have a fine time domestically. Thats how they got Pinochet, but I can’t really imagine Bush going to Syria for some reason and getting arrested and turned over to the ICC.

Somehow, I think Bush would be plenty happy if he never left the state of Texas after his presidency. It’s not like he was the worldly type before all this.