News Release

U.S. “Hypocrisy” on Libya and International Criminal Court


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi, citing “universal principles.”

President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ratner said today: “While it appears that serious crimes against humanity are being committed by the Libyan government, the referral of those abuses to the International Criminal Court by the Security Council smacks of opportunism and hypocrisy.

“The Security Council, and particularly the United States, have little credibility in focusing their wrath on Libya. The Council, in large part, has lost its credibility because of the U.S. refusal to make such a referral when the Israelis slaughtered Palestinians in Gaza.

“Why Libya now and not Israel in 2009? Nor was the United States sanctioned for initiating an aggressive war against Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands. When justice is determined by the big powers, it is not justice, but politics.”

Author of How America Gets Away With Murder, Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage and Crimes Against Humanity, Mandel said today: “The ICC has been used as a way of putting Africans on trial while ignoring illegal attacks by the Western powers against countries in the global south.” Mandel is a professor of law at York University in Canada.

Friel is coauthor with Richard Falk of Israel-Palestine on Record: How The New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East and The Record of the Paper: How The New York Times Misreports U.S. Foreign Policy. He said today: “There is little question that crimes in Libya are being committed by its head of state, his associates, and his hired mercenaries against the Libyan people. Innocent people are being killed, and the Security Council, with the support of the United States, indeed was justified in referring the matter to the International Criminal Court to hold the criminals in the Libyan government personally accountable for their crimes. However, if subsequent to this action, international law still applies only to pirates like Qaddafi, but not to the American emperor, then the world will see the hypocrisy of the United States in supporting this resolution.

“Keep in mind that a ‘war of aggression,’ the supreme international crime according to the Nuremberg Principles, and an example of which is the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, is currently outside the jurisdiction of the ICC, mainly due to U.S. demands. Note also that the Bush administration in 2002 ‘un-signed’ the U.S. signature on the ICC treaty. And the United States repeatedly beats back Security Council condemnations of Israeli aggression in the Middle East. So, yes, apply the law to Libya. But apply it henceforth universally, including to the United States and Israel.”

Friel recently wrote “The UN Voting Record of Susan Rice on Palestinian Rights, 2009–2010,” following the U.S.’s latest veto at the Security Council on behalf of Isreal on February 18.

Note: “In mid-1998, 148 countries met in Rome, following tough negotiations and voted overwhelmingly on establishing an international criminal court. … ICC was given the vote by 120 to 7. The seven who voted against were [the] U.S., China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar and Yemen.”

Also, see Glenn Greenwald “U.S. continues Bush policy of opposing ICC prosecutions.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167