Friday, May 06, 2005

Bush in Europe

Bush's European tour have brought a couple of good quotes in. The first, I neither agree nor disagree with, just thought it was interesting to see his response.

Dutch TV asked the President about the Dutch being on the opposite end of the spectrum from him on abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, drugs and how Republicans and some Americans don't want to move toward the Netherlands on these issues. Asked if he shares that concern, Bush said that Holland is a free country where people decide policy and the government reflects the will of the people. "And so if that's what the people of Holland want, that's what the government should reflect."

The second, I both agree and disagree with.

Bush brought up the International Criminal Court as an example of where the U.S. and the Netherlands will differ and explained why the U.S. will not join it: "We don't want our soldiers being brought up in front of unelected judges. But that doesn't mean that we're not going to hold people to account, which we're doing now in America. And nor does it mean that even though we may disagree on the court, that we can't work for other big goals in the world."

First, Bush has it a little backwards. ICC judges are actually elected, whereas military curt judges are most certainly not.

Second, I think the US should join the ICC, but I do share his concerns. Whereas the US is often the largest deployer of military personnel to troubled regions, we would have the greatest exposure to abuse of the ICC as a propaganda tool against us. We do, for the most part, hold soldiers accountable for their actions. But many times it does look like many soldiers only get a slap on the wrist when a more harsh punishment is warranted. If we are t be respected and refrain from being subject to the ICC. We must make sure our punishments are at least comparable to what a soldier would receive from the ICC. There is little case law on this so far, but it is something we must be cognizant of.

Source: The Note

1 comment:

Boomr said...

Again, I have to comment on this, because there is a lot of misinformation out there about the ICC and the U.S.'s "sovereignty."

THE ICC HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER SOLDIERS FROM COUNTRIES THAT WILL PROSECUTE THOSE SOLDIERS BASED ON DOMESTIC LAW. That is, if the U.S. prosecutes soldiers for the Abu Ghraib debacle, or other such misadventures, then the ICC would not be able to prosecute them. The ICC's jurisdiction is SUPPLEMENTAL, only applicable when the soldier's country is unwilling or unable to prosecute the soldier itself. We have our own U.S. domestic and military laws outlawing the same acts prohibited by the Rome Statute establishing the ICC (torture, war crimes, genocide, etc.). Thus, there will NEVER be a case of the ICC claiming primary jurisdiction over a U.S. soldier, unless the U.S. declines to prosecute -- in which case, there should be ICC jurisdiction, because the American domestic system has become corrupted.

Another note: Just because an American court or court-martial aqcquits a solider of wrongdoing, doesn't mean the ICC can then step in. As long as internationally recognized due process principles are followed, and as long as the court process isn't a sham, then the ICC has to live with whatever verdict the American court hands down.

There would be no loss of sovereignty by the U.S. joining the ICC, and statements to the contrary are just misinformed.