News Release

Backers of International Court Challenge Nay-Sayers

WASHINGTON — As discussions on the International Criminal Court treaty were coming to a close in Rome today, backers of a strong Court criticized the U.S. delegation’s end-game approach at the historic meeting. Some Court advocates took particular exception to the common argument that the Court would open a legal Pandora’s box, saying that such allegations are a red herring. Among those available for comment are:

PHYLLIS BENNIS
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of “Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN,” Bennis said: “The U.S. is essentially trying to create an international criminal court for everyone — except itself. The Pentagon claims that they’re against this treaty because they have so many troops on humanitarian missions. In reality, U.S. troops are disproportionately absent from peacekeeping missions. The White House doesn’t want a Court whose findings could be used to mobilize opposition in case of future U.S. interventions.”

FRANCIS BOYLE
A professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, Boyle said: “The idea that U.S. soldiers on peacekeeping missions could be prosecuted under this is completely bogus. What they really want to do is still make it possible for U.S. soldiers — as well as civilians who conduct offensive, illegal operations — to escape jurisdiction. The Pentagon is concerned that future military operations such as its invasions of Grenada and Panama and its bombings of Tripoli and Benghazi would be found to be criminal. What came out of Nuremberg was that there should be one body of law, not only for the Nazi defendants but also for ourselves in the future. Now, here we are 50 years later trying to prevent it. They are also undoing years of U.S. jurisprudence, taking positions contradicting our own Army Field Manual.”

ALYN WARE & JOHN BURROUGHS
Burroughs, a board member of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy who is currently in Rome, said “the U.S. and the other nuclear powers are keen that employing poison gas, dumdum bullets, biological agents and chemical weapons are defined as war crimes. This would mean that the rich man’s weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, are excluded.” Ware, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee, recently returned from Rome. He said such a policy would “create the ludicrous anomaly that the Court would have jurisdiction if someone killed one person with a poisoned arrow, but not if the person incinerated a hundred thousand with a nuclear weapon.” The Lawyers’ Committee is part of the Coalition for an International Criminal Court.

For more information, contact Theresa Caldwell or Sam Husseini at the Institute for Public Accuracy, (202) 347-0020.