The International Criminal Court (ICC) is despite its name, a court that advances the cause of criminality. It acts in concert with the most powerful nations on Earth, and allows them to engage in crimes of aggression against millions of people all over the world. Only the powerless are ever punished and the aggressors use the court to behave as if they were the injured parties.
The world sees this institution in a benevolent light, assuming that it is a means of protecting humanity from the whims of evil doers in high places. Yet after nine years of existence, the ICC has managed to prosecute mostly little known African dictators and a few Serbians thrown in for good measure.
Ironically, after having opposed the establishment of the ICC and after failing to ratify the treaty that brought it into existence, the United States is now its biggest cheerleader. The Bush administration was terrified that Americans, including Bush, Cheney and the rest of their henchmen and women, might be punished for their transgressions around the world.
It is strange that after instigating the killings of thousands of people in Iraq, that neither Georg W. Bush nor Tony Blair have any reason to fear being brought to justice. They travel around the world, unafraid of punishment, giving speeches, writing books, making money, and having no worries whatever about getting their just deserts.
They had even less reason to worry after Barack Obama succeeded them. As the more effective evil, Obama knew that he needed to eschew Bush regime ham handedness in international relations. While simultaneously refraining from ratifying the treaty which brought the ICC into existence, Obama and company constantly offer up others to put in the dock in the Hague.
Last year Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy decided to carve up Libya, using NATO to do their dirty work, killing an untold number of civilians in the process, and they too have no fear of prosecution. Lead ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said as much while the crime was being committed, openly taking the side of the West. Moreno-Ocampo lied to the world, claiming that the Libyan government distributed Viagra to soldiers in order to use rape as a “weapon of war.“
The charge was a lie, made up out of whole cloth. If there was any pretense of ICC impartiality, Moreno-Ocampo himself dispelled any such notion. The anything but disinterested prosecutor is now featured in the latestvideo, ending any debate about whether or not the phony, web driven, ginned up outrage has any standing in reality or truthfulness.
While Obama and Clinton try to scuttle Kofi Annn’s Syrian peace plan and hint at President Assad’s prosecution before the ICC, the ICC shows its true colors. When Palestinians petitioned the ICC to investigate war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, they were turned away. Moreno-Ocampo determined that because Palestine has not been recognized by U.N. General Assembly it has no standing to seek justice for the 2,000 people massacred by Israel in 2008 and 2009. The hypocrisy is blatant, and proves that the United States and its allies present the greatest threats to peace in the world.
At the United National Antiwar Coalition conference last month, this columnist asked professor and author Vijay Prashad why the ICC prosecutes Africans and token Serbs, but never threatens anyone in Washington, London, Paris or Jerusalem. His answer was simple. “It is just international racism. I think there is no (other) way to explain it.”
George Orwell said, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” Those words are still true, humanitarian missions and “responsibility to protect” are in fact euphemisms meant to promote good old fashioned imperialism.
The fact is that the United States, Israel and their European allies never protect anybody. They continue doing what they have done for decades, deciding who is inconvenient and therefore disposal. The human toll is “collateral damage” and quickly forgotten.
There are of course people and nations who cause other human beings great suffering in the world. They should be stopped, but they should all be stopped. Joseph Kony has actually killed fewer people than the president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, but Museveni is a friend of the United States, so no social media campaign to will be directed at getting him before the ICC.
Until there is greater justice in the world, that is to say when the rich capitalist nations have rivals for power, perhaps a court dedicated to punishing human rights violations would be a viable option. Right now it is fairly useless, because it was not created by people with honest intent.
Perhaps a simple name change is in order. Is Court for International Criminals a better name? How about Criminal Court International? For once, political language would be honest and George Orwell would be proven wrong.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com.Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com