|Picture Credit: flickr.com/Alkan de Beaumont Chaglar
The United States government has consistently opposed an international court that could hold US military and political leaders to a uniform global standard of justice. The Clinton administration participated actively in negotiations towards the International Criminal Court treaty, seeking Security Council screening of cases. If adopted, this would have enabled the US to veto any dockets it opposed. When other countries refused to agree to such an unequal standard of justice, the US campaigned to weaken and undermine the court. The Bush administration, coming into office in 2001 as the Court neared implementation, adopted an extremely active opposition. Washington began to negotiate bilateral agreements with other countries, insuring immunity of US nationals from prosecution by the Court. As leverage, Washington threatened termination of economic aid, withdrawal of military assistance, and other painful measures. The Obama administration has so far made greater efforts to engage with the Court. It is participating with the Court's governing bodies and it is providing support for the Court's ongoing prosecutions. Washington, however, has no intention to join the ICC, due to its concern about possible charges against US nationals.
The US upholds a series of double standards on international criminality. It is the number 1 advocate of international criminal justice for others, but refuses to subject its own officials to the jurisdiction of the ICC, even going so far to threaten the use of military force in the Hague if the ICC indicts any US citizens. Western corporations are asked to comply voluntarily to moral practices, while political leaders in sovereign African states are subject to international criminal law. In this article, Richard Falk argues that the rule of law must be implemented consistently for people to take it seriously, and not only when it’s convenient for the global elite. (al Jazeera)