News Release

Trump ICC and Iran Moves: Latest Attacks on International Law

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include Foundations of World Order (Duke University Press).

In “Trump Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a Foreign Terrorist Group” the New York Times reports: “The timing of Mr. Trump’s announcement appeared aimed at giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel a final boost in a tight re-election campaign before a vote on Tuesday.”

Boyle said today that the administration’s move is “a complete negation and violation of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and thus a war crime. It opens us up to reprisals against our own military forces. Under the laws of war, reprisals against military personnel are permissible. This is continuing down the path of Bush Jr. determining that Taliban and Al Qaeda are not protected by the Geneva Conventions, which was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hamdan decision. …. Iran could now determine that U.S. Special Forces, Seals, Green Berets, Rangers, etc. are terrorists and thus do not benefit from the Third Geneva Convention. Apparently, for that reason, the Pentagon was against it.”

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has responded to the U.S. government move by designating the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and all the “forces connected to it” as a “terrorist group.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced “a policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any I.C.C. [International Criminal Court] investigation of U.S. personnel. This includes persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation. These visa restrictions may also be used to deter I.C.C. efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent.”

Boyle referred cases against top U.S. government officials to the International Criminal Court. He also advised Mahmoud Abbas to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

In an interview published Monday with The Real News, Boyle said the “I.C.C. investigation, despite what Pompeo said, is not really against U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The I.C.C. does not have jurisdiction as it were to go after low-level soldiers. Basically, the I.C.C. in the case of the United States, would be going after the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the head of the C.I.A.” See: “Sec. of State Pompeo Protecting Bush Jr. from War Crimes Prosecution

Also see recent IPA news release: “Trump’s Recognition of Golan Violates International Law.”